Quite an insightful session

Quite an insightful session

Striking vignettes

Quite an insightful session

Music fanatics were caught in a time warp recently. As part of ‘Alternational’, the series of monthly events dedicated to alternative music and collaborations, a group called ‘The 78s’ performed at BFlat, Indiranagar, recently. It turned out to be a treat not just for the ears but the eyes as well.

The night’s performances were put together by Vandana Menon, Arjun Chandran, Robert Millis and Abhijeet Tambe, whose concept the event is.

The evening was demarcated into two specific sets. It started off with an eclectic DJ set by Abhijeet, who brought together a plethora of contemporary indie and alternative rock music from across the world. He included tracks like Anti Coke Ganapati by a Mumbai-based band called ‘Sky Rabbit’, a few tracks from ‘Tricky’ and even an African band named Tinariwen. 

The much-awaited second half of the show was a live collaborative session between the quartet. It began with an old Indian classical record played on the gramophone, auditing sounds from instruments like the veena and sitar.

This was followed by an audio-visual presentation on how the first records were made by hand. It was a black and white video played alongside a mix of old and contemporary sounds put together by the group.

Some of the earliest videos of ‘Gateway to India’ and ‘Colourful Jaipur’ by Fitzpatrick Pictures were followed by a video depicting the ceremony of ‘King George the Fifth’s Durbar’, held outside Delhi and a speech being given by Jawaharlal Nehru.

The musicians then took to their instruments and performed some old American songs like ‘By the Banks of the Ohio’ and ‘Watch Your Close Friends’, mixed with other collected field sounds to give a contemporary touch with a hint of antiquity.

A visual presentation of some of the oldest Hindi songs and scenes from India from the 1910s to 1960s was projected along with the music to create a special vignette for the evening.

“It is an archival project comprising found sound, all of which is public domain”, said Arjun. Vandana, the visual arts extraordinaire, finds this concept “interesting as an era is recreated employing both senses – visual and auditory.”  Robert says, “A lot of music I do is inspired from my travels. The sounds are particularly collage-oriented, where I take bits of sounds from everywhere and piece them together like a puzzle.” “Tonight was more of a cultural upheaval with artists from different fields, crossing borders and coming together to bring forward something special. Being urban Indians and living in cities which have so much of an urban culture, we should try and reconnect to our roots once in a while,” adds Abhijeet Tambe.

“The scene here is largely different from the electronic and classic rock most places play and it’s a welcome change,” says Hollis from Michigan, who was at the venue.