Posts Tagged ‘Goa’

Regardless of India’s sometimes archaic, some might even say burgeoning night life scene.. my search for a perfect party ended, when I got to experience the legendary Bedrock Records label boss John Digweed, a connoisseur of Progressive/ Tech-House at a local hot spot not so long ago. In a sea of events catering to raking in the big bucks, these nights brought out a handful number of fans old and new who love the underground. The two nights I speak of, remain unforgettable. The turn out was not as expected, but we who were there had an aural carnival. The lights down low, minimal fuss and a cavernous smoky vibe along-side the very nature of the hypnotic quality in the music was designed to dance uninhibitedly. The raving attitude of old, where one finds each other while floating around the room, if they want to on full display.

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In contrast, with due respect to clubs or festival parties featuring for example the popular figures like Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Steve Aoki to the Hardwell and Avicii are usually a spectacle of corporate sponsorship at hand with the bottle popping, cake throwing, confetti flying, picture taking decadence.

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The divide is stark and felt immediately between the two segments, as catching up with the west we tend to book one of the Top Ten names, pay them huge amounts of money, which immediately indicates that they are ‘it’. As the cash got discovered in commercial House music world-wide, in turn India seemingly followed trends from international waters causing promoters/sponsors to focus on commercial EDM, as clearly the volume is in the youth. The entire phenomena is concentrated with our young as the core receiver and consumer who find popular music to be cool or trendy. Mainstream dance music mostly depends on vocals rendered by fashionably dressed recording artists collaborating with names such as David Guetta, Deadmau5, Kaskade to drive their packaging. Back in the days, the other experimental EDM came from Frankie Knuckles, Danny Tenaglia, Paul Oakenfold to Sven Vath in the later part of the 80’s/90s and early 2000. Early sign post parties held at Twilo, Tunnel, the Palladium and of warehouse clubbing in Europe are raving yarn. In no way, does the latter scene have lesser numbers abroad, till date.

Many of our local acts such as Anish Sood, Ajit Pai, Lost Stories, Clement DSouza, Priyanjana are sale able artists, who pack places with the younger lot that like the sing along vibe in India. Chatting with Priyanjana brings out the facts that cannot be ignored when she quips- ”Each to their own. Having said that, I am at a club residency where we feature commercial artists as well as the Underground acts. Yet, the only thing that gives it up, is when the public themselves end up enjoying only one and not the latter. It’s frustrating, but I would like to be positive and hope to see a change in that attitude in the near future”.

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Our divide could be because, the club going audience here, does not have the numbers that sample a varied taste in music which is an essential to advocate, all kinds of genres. The early closing times at our clubs also play spoil-sport to building the Underground vibe. D-Nox (Germany) world renowned Techno Dj and label owner at Sprout Music say’s of our club scene-”It’s important for a good Techno party to go the distance of hours, only then can one feel any kind of hypnosis”. As was evident in his gigs in India, where short sets didn’t do any justice to the style of underground music he plays, which requires time to weave a story or create a vibe.

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Founder at Krunk; Sohail Arora is positive though- ” I believe that in the last 2 to 3 years, we’ve seen a positive change to the rise of venues, festivals in our country supporting underground music. It’s been the busiest season so far and I feel the line getting blurry as many of our events are being head-lined by good artists. Even though we have a long way to go in terms of numbers, it’s still a great place to be in”.
EDM in India is the trendiest acronym for Pop music and then one has the respected Grammys acknowledge the impact of EDM stars such as Skrillex, David Guetta and Deadmau5 and our core youth is sold to the prominent styles of today. Several niche parties in metros such as Mumbai and Bangalore do suggest though, of the novelty in mainstream to be fading a bit and a balance created with the underground wheel.
Artists such as Sanjay Dutta, Ankytrixx, Madhav Shorey, Arjun Vagale, Praveen Achary, Jehan Johar, Anastasia & Whosane, Vipul Angirish who play forward thinking sounds reflects the broader range, are in fact performing with greater regularity.
A corporate hoodlum by day with the flip side of a crackling Techno Dj by night- Helium Project banters: ”The introduction of Commercial House music has expanded the size of people listening to EDM, but then roots where the genre originated from, is completely lost. Dance music, with it’s commercial packaging inside of EDM, is responsible for the down trend of quality music, whether by skewed programming in festivals, and club gigs. However, a handful of Djs/Promoters are hanging on to the more purist vibe. It all depends on how many of us are ready to bring in quality music which doesn’t necessarily get the cash registers ringing”.

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Ash Roy, a member from the defunct yet most successful electronic bands of India, say’s- ‘‘The reason why Jalebee Cartel became a fantastic architect of the Indian underground scene was because we brought in the concept of Live Techno alongside the vibe of a proper rave, but as the band’s success grew and bookings started to pile up, our musical vision started to suffer, as it often happens the demand for a friendlier, more identifiable sounds came to our notice. Which was never our vision nor was it the direction that we wanted to go towards”.

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On to another Dj/Producer making waves in our underground and more eclectic sphere; Madhav Shorey has this to say- ” I think the rift is something that’s always been there. Some things just belong in certain places and that’s just how it is. Underground music over the last few years has made a huge following for itself over the globe and is at a nice place where young artists who are experimenting and unique are making a name for themselves and even tricking into the mainstream. A lot of genres are blending into each other and honestly, neither one would not survive if it weren’t for the other. We would not have an option and I think it’s important to understand that”.

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However, I remain confused at the future of dance music expansion in India, even though non formulaic music is getting a boost from companies like sLick!, Audiophile India and Unmute agency, a most heartening sign at best. There remains primarily, the attitude of a mass majority, who are still not ready to open up their minds to music with out Vocals. Also for the most part much of club etiquette is missing (more on that, later)..

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Cutting edge performers such as Dubfire, D-Nox, Guy J, Richie Hawtin to name some have lured in good turn outs in 2013 and most encouraging for the circuit, that followers with mature taste in music and an older lot of fans are coming out in support more often fantastic news. Whatever void in this scene remains, is slowly but surely enterprising itself also with nightclubs such as Blue Frog, Lap, Bardo leading the way with show-casing many styles other than just the main stream. I want to be part of a day, when we can have a groovy scenario much like Richie Hawtin’s artistic fruition, where from being a typical child of the underground has gone on to make his project ”Enter”, a big business fashionable curation at Space, Ibiza. Much as I rejoice seeing the good times an Armin Van Buuren concert gets for our clubbing youth, I’d like to feel the experience of a Sven Vath driven ”Cocoon” rave instigated with equal equanimity.
The future looks bright but clouded simultaneously. Until we inculcate a broader thought pattern which rises above all to do good, invite more variety with regularity, we in every way stand a chance to languish in a race, no one is winning. Where the habit of a verbal rave is met with an actual one. I think it’s going to take more than that, to be a force to reckon with…

Before I run off to stomp another yard, as a foot note… after witnessing several top names in both the commercial and underground scenes, I’d very much like to point out to our promoters, that I’d rather pay top bucks to the local Dj/Producers of India who do such a fabulous and a far better job night after night, than hear crap coming out from the speakers played by (atleast some of them) these famous international artists of the electronic music scene. Can someone hire me as a disco police? ūüėÄ

Cheerioo munkeys, gotta get my freak on….

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Lalala la Munkeys!! I am officially Sunburnt, danced out and not brain dead enough to wish each one of you seething dance souls a very Happy New Year.

May the pumping bass lines, tinkling synths and catchy breakdowns carry us collectively forward in to the spanking new music horizon of 2012.
So getting down to the burning business at hand of Sunburn; arguably Asia’s biggest electronic dance music festival got underway and I was right there on the sands of Candolim to experience some of my most insanely emotive moments to close the year down. Whether the festival is the most fertile ground for cutting edge dance music are debatable, hats off though to Percept for pulling in a record number in the 3 days of its 5th year, at once impressive and unprecedented indeed.
With the festival’s day time programming and the cream of the dance music crop at the night time sessions of Afterdark; has music fiends flocking from all over the world like never before. From the 27th-29th December, it’s a place to network, catch new artists and old along-with a plethora of fringe parties springing up around the city during festival time, the fact that Goa is such a vivaciously vibrant city it’s no wonder that Sunburn has become an unmissable part of the dance calendar for many.

I hate to be granny miserable but there are a few points I need to rave and rant about- I love an experience of musical talent, mix it up with visual grandeur to the maddening throngs gathered for one cause which is Sunburn, but here goes the spiral heading downwards…. To be greeted with an assortment of insects as the theme goes, in ostentatious finery was by far an eye sore with unimaginative names attached to each arena. I don’t know whether I want to include Coollu the sweet owl looking over us who endeared. So seriously to the powers that be I along with many others missed the sleekness of the earlier years. The look and feel was electric back then.

Me monkey felt quite soggy jouled seeing these¬†mammoth¬†insectizoids in fancy dress…the festival felt more like a circus¬†gone wonky‚Ķthis was no Alice in Wonderland!!

I did have a giggle with all that walking between Plot A and B got me killer calf muscles..I heard like a zillion peeps complaining and groaning about it, for gawds sake I mean we are at a festival which requires one to get down right dirty and dancing, so if one has to walk to get to the guy whose flown  thousands of miles to entertain you, then damn walk to get there.
To move along, if there is a mother of all clobber points, then it is definitely looking towards the artist programming. The show flow left me cold. I was often scurrying to catch some of the more prolific acts who all seemed to be slotted all at once and at other times I had no choice at all.
Another sore point was the artist slots; with a bit of clever planning one can easily vanquish the argument of does a big room Dj with big room sounds change his style and pace to suit the slot the artist is at to create a bit of a journey through the day, or does one just come and burn it all up with the following act with a lesser pace dropping it down and no one really cares… Beats me hollow…
There were some artists who were outstandingly mediocre, plus¬†the much awaited sets of two top quality djs Pete Tong and Nic¬†Fanciulli nearly turned out duds. I am not sure if I want to beat¬†myself for being indifferent to the Global Underground legend Nic¬†Fanciulli’s set, it was border line could’ve touched good, Pete Tong¬†got boring and was unlike what he can do which is usually exciting.
To get to the part where it was all worth it; cutting edge wonders were churned out by Helium Project with his warm underground sounds, a perfect opening for the Perfect Stranger beauteousness. Tocadisco and Junior Jack/ Kid Crème were funtastic.
The real storm turned out to be Spartaque though; he was beautifully young and energetic. As far as I am concerned the Cubezoid stage on Day 2 with Spartaque was an education and a defining set securing a place in the hearts of clubbers present. He gave us the most reckless workout with his driving bass filled Techno and not to forget his all smiles presence. I didn’t have the requisite courage to leave his arena to catch Laughing Buddha next door.
Moguai and X P Voodoo were next level super super electronic gods with attitude and musical sensibilities all in place. Sunburn got the timing right with these two artists.
Ankytrixx played like a brave soldier at the Psychedelic arena at a dodgy time, but the boy wonder with the Midas touch packed in a considerable crowd very quickly. As always he was progressively stomping. Clement was groovylicious during sundown, he did nearly split my cranium with the mother of a closing set at Afterdark, Butter- Sir, take a bow!! His set was razor sharp and devoid of any inhibitions, just like his rib tickling humor.
Ah! The long lost art of playing vinyls with the showmanship. My personal highlight of Sunburn 2011 godly aggravation reached an all new musical high with Sanjay Dutta playing Classic Trance at Afterdark, Butter. I revisited the super clubbing days of the late 90’s and early 2000 with a euphoric, melodic, bouncy and mind-numbing all put in to one large ball of blissed out hands in the air nostalgia of dance fun.  I feel complete after this goliath outing by us and the Beast from the East.
A special mention to Dan Booth, your visuals were sorely missed.
Sets by Axwell, Infected Mushroom, Skazi, Above & Beyond, Liquid Soul, Jerome Ismae, Gabriel and Dresden to name some packed up at their arenas as expected with sing along friendly sounds. The crowds so obviously packed up for the big labels like Defected & Toolroom Knights like never before.
Poor sound at my favorite Cubezoid stage was no fun at all, in fact its quite unacceptable, as Skazi struggled too at the Psychedelic stage. If you want to throw a good party, have kick the guts sound me thinks.
Oh well, Percept takes risks and gets away with being the¬†omnipotent bastion of hosting mighty like Sunburn. My urge to get¬†communal and heinously twisted hasn’t diminished with the Sunburn 2011¬†edition one bit. As a serious music lover, I am excited and optimistic as ever for the future the festival brings me.
With an irrational love for the beats, I move on to stretching my limbs to a pot-pourri of extra-ordinary talent further North as we get in to January action. Tell you all about the hopping sooner I get my brains back.
I leave you cheery heads with a mixed set, by an artist who is rising in meteoric fashion in the dance radar and his sets are munkiness personified, so here goes…
Download- Sunburn 2011 by Helium Project
Till then stay intensified munkies!

Seasons Greetings my dance munkies!!

Reboot, recharge, rejuvenate was the order of the day and I took it with gusto. I did go on a dance rampage at quite a few gigs in town and out prior to that.

2010 has been awesome musically and shockingly mediocre on the other hand, some fabulous Dj sets made my dancing feet stomp, I am going to leave the bad ones as no mention hahhaa!!

As is the calling in December, everyone worth their salt is in Goa and I can really do without writing about all the fantastic Djs such as Ankytrixx, Sanjay Dutta, Boombaba, Shiva Moon close from home on to the international greats like Dave Seaman, Paul Van Dyk, Funkagenda, John 00 Fleming, Riktam & Bansi to name a few all putting in guest dj sets at Asia’s biggest dance music festival Sunburn. I know that, all you party hearties are experiencing all these myriad artists first hand. The After Dark sessions and Sundown on the beach at Zanzibar lineup of Djs is spankingly yummy, as well. Dash all this up with power packed parties at Morjim with the Rebel Alliance goodness of Hux Flux, Fibre Stomp, Mubali, AFM and more and we are ready to usher in the New Year crazy bad.

Lots to get hopping with.

So there we are facing a brand new year that matters and hope to god that it turns out to be a smashing one musically and dance time gets even better.

I leave you with loads of love for all the support and fun that I have received for my writings, obviously it wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t get any of that from all you that have stomped next to me as hard as I have in the past year.

See you brave hearts on the other side, with ramblings and much Trancing and dancing of many of the parties to come.

A very Happily Dancing New Year to each of you.

The goodie bag section has a mammoth mixed set by Helium Project that should keep you dancing some more and well into the New Year…

Cheerioooo munkies & All Hail Electronic Dance Music!

DOS by Helium