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My journey and some studio tips || Ameya Londhe | S08 E10 || converSAtions | SudeepAudio.com
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 About the Artiste

MIDIval Punditz,New Delhi

A true Indian music outfit for the future," is how Skim Magazine in Zurich aptly described the duo, MIDIval PunditZ.

These producers extraordinaire from New Delhi, India are the first-ever Indian electronica band to sign to an International label. The PunditZ morph at will into remixers or recording artists, live performers or club impresarios as the occasion demands. The quixotic mobility required by musicians in a new millennium seems to come naturally to the duo.

Even prior to the release of their new, self-titled Six Degrees debut, the amalgam of Indian classical and contemporary club music that is the MIDIval PunditZ hallmark was already familiar to many. Their fans include both worldwide members of the Asian Massive and local patrons of the group's Cyber Mehfil nights staged in New Delhi. Asian Underground impresario Talvin Singh recognized fellow travelers in the PunditZ, including them on his second, as yet unreleased Anokha collection. Their role in the August 2001 Tabla Beat Science concert (with Karsh Kale, Bill Laswell, Gigi, Ustad Sultan Khan and Zakir Hussain) was recently commemorated with a live album.

The musical partnership of India's Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj dates back to their childhood years. Having cemented their acquaintance in grade school, several years' separation would ensue before the two reunited in 1994. Each member brought his unique talents to the party: Gaurav was an architecture student who moonlighted as a radio DJ and Tapan, an IT specialist by day, engineered at a New Delhi recording studio where Gaurav's station booked time. Both were veterans of India's dance club culture and, more importantly, both shared a love of the spare yet soulful classical music of their homeland. Pooling funds begged from relatives and friends, the two set up their own studio and, by 1997, their partnership had coalesced into the MIDIval PunditZ.

Much as both Gaurav and Tapan liked the imported hip-hop, breakbeat, house and especially the drum'n'bass sounds of their club-hopping nights, the foreign sounds, "Didn't leave an impression," by Tapan's account. Dedicating themselves to a fusion of their beloved classical ragas with the beats and loops of electronica, the nascent PunditZ circulated pressings of their initial efforts on New Delhi's club circuit. These were well received, setting the stage for their initial contact with Talvin Singh, whose musical hybrids of Indian raga and electro-beats were gaining international notice. His positive response to the duo's demos led to their meeting in 1998 when Singh visited India. In addition to the PunditZ being asked to contribute a track for Singh's second Anokha compilation, they became part of Tabla Beat Science.

The MIDIval PunditZ represent a novel hybrid of many influences. Timely and very much at one with the zeitgeist, the sound of the PunditZ reflects the extent to which younger generations of Indian music fans have allowed equal time for the past, the present and the future. Even the very young in India are influenced by Indian classical music, film soundtracks and regional folk music; their parents and grandparents listen to it all the time. Kids have been imprinted with traditional Indian music, and this deep cultural programming coexists with knowledge of the internet and club culture. As a result, the PunditZ' music is a natural 'next step' for Indian music today, a progression readily accepted by Indian youth.

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email: tapan@punditz.com