Thursday, March 10, 2011

G(r)o(w)ing up -Part One of many.

At the age of  four I found a cassette in a drawer somewhere. It was an album called "Dreamland" by a producer named Robert Miles,this was way back around 1995-96 and I was hooked....especially onto tracks called "Children" and "Fable" . Sounds tacky compared to today's standards I know. The feeling and the emotions that those tracks sparked inside of me probably, perhaps undoubtedly have had a significant impact on the way my think tank functions.

Robert Miles
Those days we didn't have "seekers" to skip to parts we liked. I would play the tape from start to finish. Side A and B both. There was a time when I remember when I could sense when the breakdown was coming in 4-8 seconds...not by looking at the player but.......just feeling it. "I felt like I had God given gift.I would often just sit in front of the HiFi system with that album on with my building blocks and hours would pass by.

"In many ways, my musical journey started around the same time after I discovered I could read. So the album title and track list were probably one of the first things that I actually tried to read."

It was only around 10 years later that I learnt that he had pioneered the sub-genre of  piano trance...and that particular album apart from being his breakthrough and debut was also responsible for creating a subgenre called "Dream Trance" Those tracks are still played today.

 My father doesn't know where that album popped up from. Come to think of it...what four year old shoves in tapes(CDs were too delicate to be left around those days) into decks and plays them anyway? 

And boy was I frustrated.

1.No Dj(or anyone for that matter) would entertain a kid when he asked about what track was being played and where he would buy it from.

2.The places with both Djs playing EDM and kids around the age of 4-7 were significantly limited.

3. The internet was not what it is today.

4.My Google-ing skills were like me , in their infancy. I don't think I                  would have found anything anyway.

At around the age of seven would drag my parents into a records store and pick out albums I felt were good. It's only now that I fully understand the amused expressions on people's faces as they directed me to the Lion King soundtrack.(which I already had, for their information)

Sean Tyas.
 I still have an a typical school girl crush on him.
I would wait for a movie's credits to finish just to see the name of the song and artiste I liked. My writing and reading was slow  and I often couldn't keep up with the rolling credits.So I would look up the papers for repeat timings and tune in when the movie was finished.

I had almost called up Polygram records because I couldn't find the albums I noted down in the credits at the stores. Globalization was at it's infancy perhaps.I didn't have the balls to dial perfect strangers.

I finally drove my mom crazy enough for her to grab the album from somewhere. By the time I was 12, I could  finally join an online forum and post a recording of the tune that I played on the guitar for people to direct me towards the light.

When my dad bought a worldspace satellite radio unit around six seven years back, I was on top of the world. Finally I could get non stop electronic music on a channel dedicated to it, along with all other genres like Jazz and R&B. Top 40 was a button away. Finally more music, No chatter. No bullshit.


No jockey mentioned the title or name of the track. With Vocal trance, I would occasionally jot down a few lyrics that I'd search online.

But that all changed when I went Myspace music page hopping from Tiesto and Van Buuren's friend lists while I was in the seventh grade and practically raping a lot of players. I discovered giants like ATB, Ferry Corsten, Paul Van Dyk, Above and Beyond, and the lot .

I also discovered artists I started to look upto, like Sean Tyas, Gareth Emery, Filo and Peri ( who I've been following since their first release, that coincided with my exploration phase). Duderstatd, Lemon and Einar K , artistes not in the top 20, but nevertheless well known and worshiped. I couldn't buy the tracks online so I used to download them illegally of the myspace players.

They were bad quality...but once your addicted to a substance, any fix will do I guess. Just like a cup of coffee, or a cigarette , whatever works for you.

They've made the players more secure now, probably because of thousands of others like me but thank God for Peer to peer file sharing and online hosting services.

Daft Punk changed the way I looked at live performances, they were quite "out of the world" . Making their own full length animated anime musical movie changed the way I looked at electronic music. Moby and Karunesh reached out through a chance buying of a world music compilation in the 4th grade. One of the best buys I've ever made.

I read and read about the significance of Goa in early electronic music development.How a whole genre called "Goa Trance" existed. How it was a birthplace of sorts for genres like Psy-trance. It didn't end there. That lead me to listen to Israeli giants Astral Projection who were at their peak in the late 90s with the raves going on in full swing.

I discovered stalwarts and pioneers like Kraftwerk and their work on "autobahn"and the very magical "Yellow Magic Orchestra" from Japan who popularized the "Techno cut" hairstyle that's still popular today. I was overjoyed when I could finally hear them play live, albeit through a television set, at the Live Earth Kyoto. They were old , but there music was young and kicking. The sounds they produced sounded very simple but came from very complicated places. 

"It wasn't enough for me to be a passive listener. I had to learn how and where the sounds came from.I had to know what synths, what processors  went into constructing a piece of art that my mental state would lose it's self into."


 I had to know what created those amazing breakdowns that would give me goosebumps or make me feel like I was in an express elevator. I had to know how one track seamlessly blended into another, how the feeling of being elevated was sustained for hours. I had to know how tracks overlapped, how beats were constructed , how mixes were made.

Daft Punk
It's funny how 15 years ago , what started as an accidental playing of a cassette led to me tuning into a station online and listening to over a hundred tracks in two days as of yesterday.(Internet radio for the win)How that one track and one artiste threw me into the world of audio technology and production.I often ask myself, what if I missed that tape and never took a second look at it? Would I think like I think todayWhen certain Islamic texts allegedly says music of being an intoxicant , it's not wrong. Not wrong at all.

Only the other day I read an article in papers, where research at McGill university reveals that listening to a particular kind of music that you like triggers a dopamine release just like you having sex, or snorting coke. I wasn't surprised. Not one bit. I wouldn't be surprised if I came across a certain track that made me hallucinate.

I often wonder what it would be like if electronic music didn't play as big a part as it does. A part of me tells me, like everything one loves there comes a point where your dependency exceeds healthy limits and tends to become something of an obsession. For me it would be the constant need to learn new sounds, explore new soundscapes, to learn new instruments, to mix music. Would I feel handicapped, purposeless and empty? Or would I be happier not knowing what I was missing?


Meher said...

Dayum! I could so relate to it, the album name, the artist's bibliography being one of the first things I'd learned to read. And google wasn't even born when your were 4 [it's just 12 now]. I'd always pay a lot of attention to the end credits too.
It's amazing how informative you are about the artists too. :)

Amogh said...

My Musical Journey started Listening to dads LPs and tapes..he still has tem..thinks digital is trash..with him on sundays

But I really liked your post.. :)
and was google around at that time???

Waiting for whatever is about to come

Monty said...

Dude, completely unrelated comment - Your background on the template makes reading your posts a pain in the ass.


I'd do something about it if I were you.

Essay Tea said...

Definitely one of your best posts. The discovery of music is a universal phenomenon which, when you really think about it, is astounding. there are people who aren't into football and so, might not watch a single game all their lives. There are others who might have sucked at drawing in kg, didn't get the encouragement they needed and, hence, are indifferent to art. But's something that's inherent in the human soul. even the most braindead jock you can find jerking off on the basketball court has that one song they love. even the most highly educated and/or snooty people around have an interest in music. the journey that is musical discovery is a never-ending one and one that we all go through, consciously or unconsciously. for some it begins in childhood, for others, later. but everyone experiences it. and as long as there are people like you writing about that wonderful experience, we can all appreciate it.

UjjwalRaaj said...

@Meher : You're right. Google wasn't born when I was four...but I didn't mean it exactly when I was four...more like when I was a kid...nevermind! I'm sure you're informative about something that drives you crazy... ( in the good way) ;) :P

@Amogh: LPs sound better anyday. The LP is undergoing a massive revival...go to your favorite music store and you'll find them..latest releases.!

@Monty :'re not the only one having that problem though. :\

@Essay Tea: Thank you soo much! And it amazes me as to how you put your opinion across in such simplicity and humor and still hit the nail on the head....gets people thinking..!

Splatters Of Ink said...

Very informative.
Now, I can discover more music with the help of this.

Dandelion said...

I want to steal your music list!!!!!!!!!

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