The beat street

Melodious strains
Last Updated 16 August 2015, 18:32 IST

There is melody and then there are electronic dance beats. While the former is considered to be pure music, the latter is an amalgamation of sounds, all recorded. But, with technology, convergence is inevitable and that is bringing together traditional acoustic sounds with technologically-advanced electronic music.

The music scenario in the City is ever-experimental and its listeners, encouraging. This has given rise to many unconventional musicians and bands. Music enthusiasts are now looking for the perfect balance between raw melodies and quick beats, and dance parties are turning to jam sessions.

      The vibe of the audience is captured and played along with musical twists by the
DJs, who are also instrumentalists and vocalists. The parties don’t just have DJs turning and twisting the knobs, but also instrumentalists and vocalists adding a ‘pure’ touch to electronic sounds.

‘Shanti Ashram’, an electro-acoustic band, plays electronic deep house, nu disco and techno music with a combination of tunes from acoustic instruments, whether it’s the flute, saxophone, violin or harmonica.

     A distinctive band, it has DJ Imdad twisting house and funky beats with acoustic sounds played live by Sandeep. Regular performers at noted resto-pubs, they make the audience groove to melodious upbeats.

     “Our band is four years old. The idea of starting something as offbeat as this happened when I was at a show where two guys played the guitar and saxophone live,” says Imdad. A DJ understands the sounds and this lets him experiment with them,
and there flowed unamplified sounds with electronic and dance music.

The initial jamming sessions of the duo were intense. But Imdad says, “Now we coordinate and play according to our surroundings. I give a key, he (Sandeep) picks it up and we go along. We even take our solo performances. When the acoustic sound is elevating, I adjust the Beat Per Minute (BPM) and that is how we complement each other’s music.”

Dixit Somaiah, an independent musician, who tunes the sounds of his flute alongside many DJs, took to this interesting mix after, “I saw a guy, who was speech and hearing impaired, playing the flute. They were crazy tunes that came out. Impressed and inspired, I started playing the instrument. I understood my breathing and learnt how they had to be steady. Then, I incorporated those sounds to different tracks,” he says.

He began by playing with a band called ‘Barcode Brother’ and now performs live with various artistes from different genres of music including psychedelic, trance, EDM and more.

     “The flute is seen as a subtle instrument by many. But it can generate some peppy and fast music too. Why should it be only melodious and not upbeat? It is a versatile instrument and can be played with any genre of music; it is universal,” he says.

So, what is the difference when the acoustic sound is recorded and when it’s
performed live? “The difference is the ‘feel factor’. The studio will cut out certain notes and the output is given in a clean manner. The impact of a live show is different. There is a keenness of and for sound and it is a complete package that arouses all the senses,” explains Dixit.

‘Mudita Collective’ is another quirky band, that combines electronic music with an eclectic mix of various instruments and finds different inspiration each time. This band does not assign itself to a particular genre and plays electronic chillout, glitch, drum and bass, with a fusion of acoustic instruments and vocals.

     Edison Lazar, the brain behind their electronic music, plays a number of percussion instruments including djembe. Josheel Verma plays the sitar and dirluba, and Raghav Laxman plays the didgeridoo. The sounds are brought together by Nikhil Ponnanna with vocals.

Edison says, “We thoroughly enjoy playing our instruments apace with electronic music. We love to experiment and are not confined to playing the instruments we know, to a particular kind of sound. There are no rules as such and we all have a good ear for music. As long as it sounds right to us and adds a fresh vibe to our performances, we are open to trying new things all the time.”

(Published 16 August 2015, 13:48 IST)

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