As we prime ourselves for the musical offerings of the new year, we cast a look back at the releases of 2015 that embodied a fresh and forward-thinking approach to electronic music. From ambient passages and thoughtful downtempo to funk, drum and bass and downright demented electronica — tune in for an immersive aural journey through 2015, right here:
While Revolution Rising Vol I came out in 2009 to introduce audiences to ‘left-field Asian-tinged electronica’, the sequel Revolution Rising Vol. II features a fresh wave of electronic artists representing the future of subcontinental bass culture. Released on 4/20 this year, the 15 artists featured include promising talent such as Pippin, Fuzzy Logic, Echofloat and Kumailtraversing trap.
Another release by High Chai that’s worth checking out it the Sub-Continental Bass Vol II featuring 13 ‘genre-crushing tracks future garage, Post-dubstep, drumstep, chill out & hybrid breaks’. This one features DJ Nasha, Sidd Arta and Defunk to name a few.
“Earlier this year while on tour in the US, I lost 2 of my hard drives which contained the project files of all of the music I had been working on for the past couple of years. The only remains of this music – unfinished low quality files that I can’t necessarily do anything with. I’ve decided to go ahead and get the existing. I may never have found the courage to share this music otherwise!” Sandunes is someone who knows how to make the best of a bad situation, and her 4-track EP is testament to her rapidly diversifying sound even as it remains complex and layered. You can buy it on Bandcamp here, and check it out below.The other exciting project that Sanaya Ardeshir (AKA Sandunes) is working on that has us stoked is her collaboration with Jivraj Singh (AKA Jiver), ‘Perfect Timing’, released by Redbull Music Academy.
Showcasing easily how fluid electronic sub-genres are becoming, their single ‘Tangerine Fool’ has us looking forward to the whole album, to be released in 2016.
His Motherland Tourism LP has had our ears perked up since its release in 2013, with its fresh as fuck Bollywood-influenced sound that never crosses over to cliché. With the release of the single ‘Staylo’, you get a real sense of how he’s been working on the nuances of his craft. “I’m working on a lot right now so things are all over the place, but this is the first song I’m releasing in a long time,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot since then – I took some time off to learn about sound design and engineering so it’s more of a realisation of what I’ve been trying to do. There’s still a Bollywood influence but I’m trying new styles, just arranging sounds in a way to create space and you know, still try to make pop tunes. I’m really happy with it.”
Mumbai-based drum and bass producer and drummer Aditya Ashok’s September release is another testimony to him being one of the most versatile artists in the country. His fifth EP ‘Recess’ definitely takes a different direction, with much experimentation in tempo, but it makes for a listen that stays with you long after the growling bass has faded. If you’ve got your ear to the ground, you might also recognise the first track from the Pepsi MTV Indies Krunk Superdry Live Sessions opening credits.
‘Handwired’ is one of the more refreshing listens that came out of 2015. The Mumbai-based outfit consisting of Aman Nath, Shatrunjai Dewan and Sushant Joshi cite Apparat, John Hopkins and Modeselektor as some of their primary influences. On the immersive sounds in the album, they say, “Each sound on this album, from the kick to the bassline factors which has brought all the life to our sound and music and hence the title. Our main intention with this album is to share and spread the beauty of pure analog sound that we have been blessed to experience ourselves.”Get the album on Bandcamp here/give it a listen below:
Nucleya’s long been a pathbreaker with his sounds and sensibilities that blend bass with an innate ‘Indian-ness’. Having established himself as a key player in the bass scene, 2015 had him flipping the script with his album Bass Rani being released during a full-blown ganpati visarjan this year to an expectedly raucous response.
Akshay Rajpurohit’s shower of releases in 2015 has us psyched for the year to come. His sensuous, dark synthpop has a way of staying with you after those headphones have come off, and it’s likely that — like us — you will be back for repeat listens. Check it:
While we wait for trapmaster Su Real’s Twerkistan album, he decided to whet our appetite with a ‘placeholder EP’. “Really, I’ve been working on the Twerkistan album, and it’s taking a while getting all the bangers in place!” he tells us. “Let people hear the evolution of my sound since Trapistan, with a flavour of what my live sets are more like these days.” You can buy it on OKlisten and give it a proper listen here:
X.Union Farm EP - Madboy/Mink
Always a serious disco party with this duo. The 4-track EP they managed to put together between an intense schedule of touring is a journey through their signature swinging retro sounds, supplemented with layers and hints of genres like garage and rock along with all that funk. If you’re a fan of their live sound, this one’s definitely going to strike your fancy.
XI. Zoya: Plugged In - Zoya Mohan
While Zoya’s vocals have been described as many things ranging from folk fusion to jazz to pop, her latest cheekily-named album ‘Zoya: Plugged In’ puts a new spin on things; nine of her electronic music producer friends and colleagues from Berklee College of Music have stepped in to rework old favourites from her previous acoustic releases Letters To Toska EP and The Girl Who Used To Live In My Room. All proceeds from the collaborative album, priced at USD$15, will go towards bringing electricity to various schools and child development facilities in remote areas in Udaipur. You can read more about the story behind the campaign here, and contribute to the campaign here.
XII. Spectral Void (Drafts – Bits – Pieces) — Echofloat
Fresh, exciting sounds don’t always come in a neat, little package. Giving us a taste of his works in progress such as ‘Walkabout‘ and ‘Lowlands (WIP)‘, Echofloat has us pumped for his full-blown release to come. Dark, layered and crunchy is our best guess. What does come in a rather neat package is this playlist, that’ll give you the lowdown on the experimental producer and designer’s inclinations. You can also read more about him here.
XIII. Hedon – Toymob
One half of Teddy Boy Kill, Ashhar Farooqui aka Toymob’s dark, demented electronica is something to leave you exploring your darker realities. You can expect some spoken word, a chaos of layers and glitch with other much deeper sounds resisting the trappings of labels, from this delicious Christmas gift of a release.
XIV. Returning Rituals - Profound
Layered with subliminal beats and lo-fi elements, Profound’s debut EP ‘Returning Rituals’ is a study of the range of the emotional landscape, rounding off a long period of experimentation in numerous genres. Settling the dust with what kicked off his journey musically, Profound‘s ‘Returning Rituals’ is a dedication to the art of hip hop.