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Chronicles of Indian electronica

From Bollywood to discotheques to weddings to college fests, one can hear glitchy distorted electro-beats almost everywhere around them. Here is a look at the peaking trend of electronica in India

music Updated: Jun 29, 2012 13:20 IST
Ashish Adpur
Electronica

In a nation of one billion and counting, where music remains the traditional source of entertainment, it is quite expected that peoples' musical preferences would change swiftly. Over the last couple of years, our country has witnessed something of the same sort. It has seen performances from the World's Top 50 Electronic DJ's, such as David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, Markus Schulz, and current heartthrobs Avicii and Dash Berlin amongst numerous other electronic artists. Electronic music held a good 4% (in 2009) of the total sales figure of the music industry. In fact the country now hosts one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world- the Sunburn festival in Goa. All this wouldn't have happened unless there was a market ready for this genre of music. So how did a country known for its classical music become the hub of a musical genre so western and futuristic in its approach? This question is attempted in this article.

Origin
The electronic music intelligentsia in the city locates the origin of electronic genre way back to the early nineties in Goa, where the hypnotic and psychotropic Goa trance was born. Goa trance was a result of the influx of the neo-hippie culture pouring out of countries like the UK, Germany, Israel, America and France and the cultural exchange that took place between the tourists and the locals. It received an enthusiastic response and later the genre got absorbed, giving birth to further progressive genres like house music, psy, minimal, tech and dubstep.

Who burns the incense at this altar?
The music catered to the nocturnal party people seeking an escape from the urban pressures and monotony. It became the voice of a generation vary of the subcontinents clichéd musical identity.Over the years, the following grew strongly, with clubs springing around the country playing electronic musicsuchas Blue Frog, The Living Room Cafe, Blue Bar- Taj Palace, and F-bar amongst many others.

Pioneers
Success of desi electronic artists like MIDIval Punditz, Karsh Kale, Jalebee Cartell, Basic Love of Things (B.L.O.T), Shaair n Func, Dualist Inquiry, Nucleya et al within the country and abroad has only added to the buzzbeing created around the music in the country. These artists are hence tagged as the harbingers of the avant-garde music culture of the future. The annual Sunburn Festival further hiked the electronic music craze in the country.

World
Developments in the Indian electronic music circuit coincided with the success of electronic music globally. Songs like the Rockafeller Skank (Fifa 99 OST), the Benny Benassi super-hit Satisfaction, Guru Josh Project's Infinity, Dash Berlin's Till the Sky Falls Down and 2011 Grammy nominee Sunshine were some of the biggest electronic hits. Towards the end of the last decade, various pop and hip-hop artists started collaborating with electronic artists in their bid to experiment and sound different. The success of this electro-pop collaboration lead to a huge trend worldwide and many artists in an attempt to score a quick hit followed suit. Sexy Chick by Akon ft. David Guetta, Give Me Everything by Pitbull ft. Ne-yo and Afrojack, and Pop queen Rihanna's collaboration with Calvin Harris' We Found Love- are all a result of this trend.

Bollywood
The Bollywood music producers also took note of these development andstarted exploring with this genre of music by teaming electronic undertones with Hindi vocals. Tracks from recent Bollywood releases like Agent Vinod and Desi Boyz went all out by applying thumping beats and distorted electro tunes to their music, almost sounding like a dance-pop number. One certain way of knowing that something is pretty big in India is when Bollywood takes to a trend. It is 2012 and electronic music has been tagged as the future of music by its followers. The Indian music industry also seems to be at the threshold of a musical renaissance. However, it needs to be seen whether electronic music is just a seasonal trend which will fade out with time or is it the beginning of something bigger. We shall groove to the music, till time tells.