Turning increasingly hermetic, Indian electronic music producer Hashback Hashish has completed a steady transformation – his music going from melodic, honeyed, and sweet to turbid, unforgiving, and decidedly aphotic. This sealing is also mirrored in his operational methods, going from a happy-go-lucky self-promoter to a shut-in emerging only to tour the UK and South East Asia extensively, before retreating to play with his favourite toys. That’s it, though, the common running thread – this playfulness, still existent in all his work and documentation except getting more nuanced.
The changeless flow of his output remains without impact, however, as he delivers consistent releases on own label Circuit, simultaneously building the Circuit catalogue by introducing tenebrous new acts or re-introducing techno heavy-hitters. Perc, Toymob, Jamblu, _RHL, 5volts – all repeat acid offenders in their own unique ways, all metallic sounds and engaging synths.
Furthering this winning streak is his remix of VvvvV’s 'Linguistics', an ambient beauty with synth front and center, turned into a rhythmic, layered threat by the man of the hour. In hot pursuit of this offering comes his breakdown of the Indian electronic music scene for us, as he journeys among some of the most interesting acts the scene has to offer.
Hashback: "Karthik Pillai’s prevailing mood of eternal melancholy reflects pretty much all of his various projects, whether it is as Jamblu, Begum, or as part of the Peter Cat Recording Co. outfit and is also what appeals to me immensely. Jokingly tagged as Berghain fantasy, this track evolved into being exactly that."
"Local synth farmer Varun Desai is all about deliberate, functional lines. With him, there are no accidents. He took this relentless song and changed only so much, but made it entirely his own. Sprawling synth riffs give this song such a sense of expanded atmosphere that it had before, making it new, refreshed."
"The thing about Lifafa is that he samples a time used commonly to poke fun at an era debatably filled with cheese, and he takes away what made it corny. It is not uncommon for musicians to chuckle at the terrible Bollywood 80s, suffused with gold and insane plotlines but Suryakant delights in it. Without making it humourless, he creates a modern Indian disco sound that is not divorced with the original, yet singular."
"There is no place for vulgarity in the Indian soundscape, but Dincharya is as explicit as it gets. Released as part of the Receivers VA series techno pack on Circuit, the grating, filthy acid is extremely fun to play with in a roomful of revellers, especially as they slowly wise up to the words which are a combination of a morning ritual description and sexual acts."
"Beams upon beams of brightened analogue drone brilliance fall upon you during every Hemant SK performance. The drone, experimental scene is yet to take off in India, steered mainly by Reproduce Artists’ Listening Room sessions and not much else, and Hemant is a staple in those, and a master."
"The local electronic music scene is polarised when it comes to a lot of things, what with segments decrying use of same old tunes to further DJing careers and yet others questioning the point of playing obscure tunes simply to be identified as underground. Whatever end of the spectrum producers lay on here, they all agree to one thing: Rahul Giri is a fucking genius. Churning footwork and breakbeat tracks that are on par with the best of them, _RHL has been consistent in terms of quality since his days as part of the downtempo electronic duo Sulk Station. He is also now building a stellar catalog for his own Consolidate imprint."
"Quality, spellbinding hip-hop with a bittersweet undercurrent, 'Down Baby Down' is a whole tune. Aerate Sound does stellar production, not once disappointing, without making things emotionless. Released on the Consolidate imprint, this is such a wonderfully balanced track, and what makes it better is that it is not an anomaly – and the Aerate Sound back catalog is proof."
"When it comes to electronic music in India, Samrat Bee (Audio Pervert) has been around the block proper. Several times. And then some more. He also has the catalogue to show for it, producing prolifically, masterfully. 'Kolkata' is a brilliant representative of his sound, filled with lush pads making sublime, soulful deep house."
"Driving chords and a surprising restraint are elements that appear time and again in Anubhav Sharma’s music as D80, and this here sexy disco tune is what I hope will define his signature sound, which is evolving steadily. There are contemporary disco samples and rhythmic bass, arranged to create a joyous experience."
"The album title is sufficiently explanatory of what the basis of this album was; an experiment combining Indian classical music elements with the more contemporary disco sounds arising elsewhere in the world, a world which was further than ever in a land without household internet. A display of both gall and skill of an immense magnitude, this album is the definitive when it comes to Indian electronica to me, and will always remain so. Indian acid never sounded this good again. If this album were to be nominated to be the flagbearer of all Indian electronic, I would have absolutely no compunctions."
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