The experimental beats

The experimental beats
Artiste and sound designer Ish Sherawat easily belongs to a new breed of alternative voices in India. His project, ‘diFfuSed beats’ talks volumes about his creative and critical capacity in music. A Delhi-based artiste with a non-conformist spirit, Ish has moved away from mainstream music creatively and politically as he strives to understand the space of acoustics as a whole. He produces meaningful music by trying to collate simple sounds in nature and brought upbeat compositions to the City at the fourth edition of ‘Sound Reasons’, a festival of sound art and electronic music held at ‘Shoonya – Centre for Arts and Somatic Practises’, organised by ‘Pro Helvetia – The Swiss Arts Council in India’.

Ish first learnt classical guitar and he experimented and tested uncharted waters with the instrument. He founded his project in 2004 with Konrad Bayer from Munich and the duo engage with sound from the classical realm to the electronics space, experimenting with every other genre in between. Ish, who is also famous for collaborating with ‘The Aditi Mangaldas Company’, explains, “Sound is our main component and we use it to reflect the times that we live in. Our beats draw an acoustic portrait by contemporary electro-acoustic music and our work is composed out of field recordings, sampling and sequencing. We interpret sound and try to create a utopia of sorts. We believe that sound exists in every spectrum of life; be it in traffic jams or the sound of vehicles in a ‘Star Wars’ movie.”

One who uses technology to its boot, Ish terms it a “a double-sided sword”. He adds, “In one sense, using techno sounds to its full scope stimulates an artiste. It doesn’t remove or replace an establishment but creates another genre in itself.” Their work comprises traces of Indian scales but Ish reaffirms that he isn’t trying to stick to any genre or structure in any of his compositions as ultimately, he wants to understand the purpose that music serves.

A living, breathing example of acoustics and electrics, Ish says, “We are often called a contemporary or an experimental project and we are trying to push the limits of creativity. Music is market-driven these days and the art is politicised. There is hardly any space for alternative voices. This is dangerous as it kills invention when there is a capitalisation of music.”

His project in the City was a big hit among iconoclastic artistes. Ish equally enjoyed performing here as he loves the wide range of audience and fresh ideas that are being churned out in the artistic space.

He says, “I believed that 2009 was the year and Bengaluru was the place where the renaissance of music would take place. I thought it was the time when independent bands who hit the scene would focus more on alternative and contemporary projects.” And as one who wishes to keep growing, Ish is now composing for certain dance recitals and “keep learning to discover himself.” A self-taught and a trained musician, he says, “I decided to teach myself after some training because I realised that my mentors couldn’t try what I wanted to discover in music. One is limited to a specific space when one is taught an artform so I feel that an artiste should take off from where he left after basic training. Education is a vague space to be in and thrusts one into a confined world. That being said, I wish music is seriously introduced in schools.”

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