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At A Glance
Since their Six Degrees Records debut in 2002, the MIDIval PunditZ-the first Indian electronica band to hit the international scene-has ushered in a new era of possibilities for the sound of 21st-century India. Their unique and expansive artistic vision marries the soulful elegance of South Asias extraordinarily rich traditional and classical music heritage with the exuberance and limitless potential of modern Western electronic music. Listeners around the world have embraced their culture-crossing expressions with huge enthusiasm, and their audience is growing rapidly: one of the tracks from their first, eponymous album, Fabric, was used on the soundtrack to Mira Nairs hit film Monsoon Wedding. Now, with their newest Six Degrees release, MIDIval Times, the duo of Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj -who work as producers, remixers, and club impresarios as well as live artists-document the musical, emotional, and intellectual journey of the past three years. "Our albums are a collection of experiences that arent restrained to any one genre," Gaurav observes. "This album is certainly more lyrically deep and more Indian, in terms of lyrics and ragas, than our first recording project. What were trying to do is to stretch Western audiences towards Indian sounds, and to stretch Indian audiences towards modern, electronic, Western music. But this album is really a diary of our journey from the time we recorded our first album until now." Tapan agrees. "Since the first album was released," he observes, "weve grown so much; weve traveled a lot, and evolved as musicians. Weve been involved in remix projects, we did a film score for a Bollywood production, and weve even been composing music for an acclaimed bharatya natyam, or South Indian classical dance, troupe based in the UK called Angika." "Working with all of those different kinds of energies and artistic approaches has really spurred us artistically," continues Tapan. "Combining those aesthetics with new technologies and our already established sound is the force of the new album." While many fans originally came to know the PunditZ through their work in Tabla Beat Science (alongside Karsh Kale, Bill Laswell, Gigi, Ustad Sultan Khan and Zakir Hussein), it was through the pairs signature, live "Cyber Mehfil" events that their aesthetic vision developed. This sensibility remains the cornerstone of their work, the two say....
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