In 1997, Randolph Correia, the guitarist for rock band Pentagram, bought a device called “groovebox”. The Roland MC-303 he found in a “little store in Mumbai” was a simple sequencer attached to a library of programmable sounds—the basic building blocks for creating live electronic music. This initial dabbling led Pentagram to irrecoverably go down the electronic path—adding a synth edge to their alternative rock sound that now defines one of India’s biggest indie bands.
These and other stories form the meat of HUB, a new book put together by Music Gets Me High (MGMH), a Delhi-based artist management and booking agency, the Goethe-Institut in Delhi and Samrat Bharadwaj (aka AudioPervert) of electronica group Teddy Boy Kill. “Electronic music is rearing its head now as a legitimate urban subculture,” says Bharadwaj. “There’s healthy cross-traffic between Indian and international artists, but no official record or compendium of what’s been accomplished so far.” The book, which consists of links, resources, artist profiles and a series of essays that “critically examine” the impact of electronic music in India over the last decade, is more anthology than singular work. “We’re exploring a number of things...from the slow rise of electronic music techniques in Bollywood production to early problems that dance concerts faced with the law enforcement,” says Bharadwaj.
It’s electric: The crowd at the Sunburn festival in 2009
His essay in HUB looks at some of the earliest practitioners of the art in India. Other pieces include a look at the impact of Goa trance, a specific genre of dance music that originated in underground parties in the late 1980s. “We’ve put together contributors who could give us their first-hand experience of how electronic music has evolved,” says Ritnika Nayan, owner of MGMH.
Winter is peak season for electronic music in the country. The 2010 edition of the Global Groove Festival concluded in the last week of November. The world’s “No. 1 DJ” Armin van Buuren performed a short India tour last month, and Goa hosts the annual Sunburn festival later this month. Part of HUB’s purpose is to highlight the increasing eclecticism within the scene, instead of viewing it as a homogenous whole. “The influences, the sounds—they’re all varied,” says Bharadwaj. The book is currently available as a limited-edition hardback, but talks with publishers are under way and HUB could soon be available in book stores around the country.
For details, or to order a copy of HUB, write to firstname.lastname@example.org