Welcome to the 21st Century. One day, you’ve got no radio, and you’re dubbing music onto cassettes – if you’re rich. The next, you’re part of a wired global music phenomenon dancing to avant-garde electronic noises made by machines – and you’re learning how to make those sounds yourself for an audience back on the other side of the planet. (Hey, I’m just a Kentucky boy. I find this all futuristic, too.)

Yet it may be the ones in denial about this phenomenon are some of us who have been living in the big cities – New York, Berlin, LA, London. The good news is, everyone is about to tune into sounds that have traveled trans-continental distances. And in that exchange, the music will change. Sometimes it’s traveling abroad that makes us discover the sound of where we came from; sometimes it’s hearing something from abroad that reveals some side of us we didn’t know – when the foreign feels personal.

VICE/Thump did a quick film with BOSE. It’s a bit of a tease to those of us who would want to get to know the music better, like watching an advertisement about the topic. But there are some gems in there. Let’s consider it the trailer to a conversation I hope we have on CDM.

And one of these quotes, while coming from the Indian experience, will no doubt sound familiar to everyone reading this site – that first time you heard new sounds.

“When I heard Prodigy, for example, I was, like, what are these guys on? I mean, this is insane. How can you make these sounds? It was just like music from another planet. It was crazy. I was like, that’s what we need to do here.”

Yep. That’s the feeling.

It’s not just “EDM” (if any of us can work out what EDM even is). Also out this month is a film (this one, entirely produced by an Indian crew) covering “India’s only bass heavy electronic music festival.” That’s really running the gamut, too, from dubstep to drum and bass. And Bass Camp Festival draws artists from the UK as well as locally. Watch:

Of course, where CDM comes in is, I think a lot of people want to make what they hear. Arjun Vagale, who’s featured in this film, has also founded the I Love Music Academy, a comprehensive school for audio and music production skills (and DJing – you can even hear students mixing on MixCloud at their site). That school in turn feeds certified programs at places like California’s Pyramind. (I’m curious whether, for instance, Ableton yet has a number of certified trainers in India.)

For more in-depth coverage (and not just slick shots of nondescript streets somewhere in India), The Bangin Beats has an enlightening discussion with Vagale:


The folks VICE has chosen here do feed the rest of the international music scene. A lot of what you hear could pass for techno from somewhere like Berlin, and indeed these folks have played here. On the other hand, there are two things to watch. One: it may not be that everyone picks up and moves to the capital of Germany just to participate in the scene; it’s relevant that these are artists who have remained in India and play to both significant audiences there and on international tours. Two, I would imagine we’ll also see compelling music that doesn’t translate. As I’m generally inspired by music regardless of its commercial value, I’d love to hear more of what has been lost in translation, hasn’t gotten a booking agency (like India’s excellent UnMute), and requires more active listening.

So, Indian readers, and those who know Indian music, we’d love to know what you think.

We can in the meanwhile listen to sounds from some of the artists featured in this film.

Arjun Vagale is making simply world-class techno, for both his audience at home and worldwide, and that’s earned him deals with Bedrock, Tronic and, most recently/notably, Sci+Tec. And he’s insanely prolific:

It’d be interesting to compare experiences; Vagale and I were born in the same year in literally different hemispheres.

Arjun does Austin. Photo courtesy the artist, via his Facebook.

Arjun does Austin. Photo courtesy the artist, via his Facebook.

Kris Correya is notable for his role in Bay Beat Collective, a key conduit for bass much in India (and likewise making ripples here in Germany, too, which says something). I failed at locating much from Kris Correya online, but here’s a nice set:

BBC goes more in the bass-heavy direction, including some good old-school stuff:

Nucleya here may be the most interesting, though, as there’s an Indian musical identity threaded through the music. That’s not to say I expect all producers in India to involve that in their identity any more than I’d assume people want me adding Bluegrass licks to my Berlin after-hours set. (Scary. Interesting, but scary. Though I do actually love Bluegrass.) But I think all of us are hungry for new sounds, not only replicas of what we’re already hearing – which can be an unfortunate side of the wonderful abundance of training in music technology available now.

Well, it starts in India. Then it goes… some other places. Some surprising places. I won’t ruin the surprise.

Those are just the artists spotlighted by VICE, and I wouldn’t think of relegating CDM’s coverage of one of the world’s most populous countries to a single post. But there’s already some stimulating music to hear just pulling apart this VICE feature.

Now, who wants to sponsor us to fly to India?

  • Thms Rmn

    a couple of other names worth mentioning, Sandunes who is definitely one of the more interesting charachters out there, super soulful kinda future garage, she’s just signed to Skream’s new label. Su Real is a beast too, pushing the more booty shaking/twerk side of things. A newcomer on the scene who is really worth following is When Pandas Attack, he’s going to be going far…

    Overall Nucleya is probably the most interesting player of the scene because he sounds different, western influenced in terms of quality of productions but proper Indian in terms of musical themes and ideas. And he used to be part of Bandish Projekt that I also recommend (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxsti7fhS94) A lot of the Indian scene, both electronic & rock, still sounds like a copy of the west because a lot of the players from that scene studied in the UK & US and then came back, importing the ideas and the musical culture, but that will obviously change over the next few years.

    Also it could be worth talking about the whole Goa/Trance scene which is gigantic over there and has a lot more of a mass appeal, because the other forms of electronic (bass/dubstep/dnb/techno/house) is still restrained to the people in the know and these people tend to be highly westernized, whereas I don’t feel that’s something I encountered with the Trance scene.

    • Edward On-Robinson

      “Also it could be worth talking about the whole Goa/Trance scene which is gigantic over there and has a lot more of a mass appeal”

      and has been a fixture in India since the late 80s. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheUAEcars has a ton of video recorded at parties from before there was even a trance scne, but a hybrid of pop, new wave, and industrial.

    • Thms Rmn

      good shout on the videos, I always wondered what Goa was like in the 90’s!!

    • Samrat Bee


      Last Hippie Standing Ganzer Film Deutsch

    • Samrat Bee


      Indias first and only anthology of Electronic music and arts ….

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Fantastic – just what I hoped. I specifically didn’t add *any* artists to the ones mentioned by VICE here specifically so I could get some other inputs. I’ll have some (enjoyable) work to do!

    • Samrat Bee

      Does anyone actually indulge in this “more booty shaking/twerk side” – Dance. Scene. in India ? Trap Music is good yet without a context its like any other imported trend. Be it Minimal House and Hipster Electronica, trends dont mean a thing without a local context or sound and support ! There is No Twerking Culture existing in India, Yet, Please. Get Real.

  • Aaron

    also.. http://www.bordermovement.com/artists/word-sound-power/
    and pretty much anything you can find produced by chris mcguiness.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Definitely. Actually, a musical touchstone for me in Berlin was the Border Movement night in Kater Holzig – so here’s to international connections! :)

  • http://pangbianr.com joshfeola

    bit more on the underground side.. dig into roster of REProduce Artists from Delhi. especially recommend: Teddy Boy Kill, Audio Pervert, Hashback Hashish, Toymob, Lifafa http://reproduceartists.com/artists

  • Samrat Bee

    A Bose sponsored film about Indian electronic music via a Kentucy boy !? My … we live in such globalized times … Well, so much for cassettes, chaos and claims. The electronic music scene in India is wee .. fledgling and poised at best. Growing rapidly and without a native sound … Wish someone out there would take a real and objective notice and view of the Indian electronic music … and not the cows, masala, dirty streets, chaotic traffic and the timid likeness for Prodigy .. In a nation of one billion plus, we have 10,000 odd young people who listen or consume electronic music or arts. Defining a subculture can be tricky … Yet this is plain vanilla. Blah !

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yeah, I was a bit disappointed that the film fell back on clichés. You could treat Berlin the same way: U-bahn shot. Marcel Dettmann. People dancing on Oberbaumbrücke. (Actually, wait, that’s all sort of accurate.)

      But – I like fledgling music scenes. I think anywhere in the world (even in the bigger centers), some of the most interesting sounds are the ones that haven’t yet entirely found their voice.

      So I think the antidote would be more music. Already some good suggestions here. I just wanted to start the discussion – more music welcome, whatever you’re listening to. And while I love vanilla ice cream and vanilla milkshakes, yes, not only vanilla music. 😉

    • Samrat Bee

      More Music ? How about … Sulk Station, Frame / Frame, Lifafa, Jamblu, Fuzzy Logic, Ravana, Mad Boy Mink, Hashback Hashish, Vaul Pan Dyke, Kohra, Charanjit Singh, Vinayaka, Func International, Da Saz, Bicycle Days, Curtain Blue, Pippin, Passenger Revelator, Bassister, BLOT, Fuzz Culture, Ohm Force, … The list goes on and on …

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yup. Sounds good.

    • thewavefarmers

      awesome, thanks for the great list, checking them all out now!

  • jivrajsingh

    Odd to wake up and read this here! Not even sure to think about the claims made in the original video. Opening a shiny can of worms. Here’s some exploratory music ruthlessly excluded (thanks to its very nature) from the very same exploding scene: http://vimeo.com/102207192

    • Samrat Bee

      Almost keeled over as I heard someone say ” Prodigy .. like, that’s what we need to do here.” ?? ” Indian Prodigals ” .. Is almost the same as a metal head’s fantasy of Iron Maiden or the retro-rockers day dream of Pink Floyd. Rather jaded this view and film ..Lets concentrate on the “Dark Energy” ( thank you Dieter Doepfer ) instead.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yeah, but at the same time – I understand that kind of feeling the first time you hear a sound that’s new to you. I included that quote because I could relate to it, too. I had that experience hearing new records as a kid. And yes, you hope that you move to something a little more personal after that.

      But yeah, I started this partly because, while I actually already knew some of the artists they mentioned and found their work compelling (particularly things like the ILM school), I wanted to broaden the focus here.

    • Samrat Bee

      I am particularly interested in the quality of music, regardless of its regional or exotic location .. and the possibility of an Indian sound inside the vast sea of electronic music allover the world is what might make us different or valid … From a foreign perspective, the birds eye view of any burgeoning subculture is most alluring and attractive … Surely one can listen, see, feel and gather more as an experience … than just the preliminary names, claims and places.

  • http://www.thewildcity.com Wild City Admin

    Everything you need to know about the alternative music landscape in India: http://www.thewildcity.com/EN/index.xhtml

  • Scott

    I hear a bunch of european dance music with conventional western meters and rhythms tuned to 12 tone equal temperament.

    Did article author forget to posts links to the relevant music?

  • Rahul Giri

    hello peter… that docu is but a tiny slice of the scene… a lot of interesting things happening in india… can’t expect a short docu to cover all that. anyway just sharing some links.. samrat already has listed quite a few (and he knows the scene inside out)

    LIFAFA – https://soundcloud.com/lifafa
    Audio Pervert aka Samrat – https://audiopervert.bandcamp.com
    his band Teddy Boy Kill – https://teddyboykill.bandcamp.com
    Sid Vashi (probably my fav right now) https://soundcloud.com/sidvashi
    Curtain Blue – https://soundcloud.com/curtain-blue
    Nicholson – https://soundcloud.com/nicholsontunes
    Aniruddh – https://soundcloud.com/aniruddh-s-menon

    frame/frame – https://soundcloud.com/framebyframe

    and are so many more…