Tag Archives: Classical

iOS & Music Production in “A Classic Night Out”

Darren Sangita recently worked on major UK commercial project to fuse Western Classical Musical elements with Contemporary Electronic styles and sounds.  It was a fascinating concept that was a pleasure to explore with a major focus being on the use of Touchscreen Technologies in music production and live performance.   Check out the film on the project:-

The brief was literally that, to somehow fuse Western Classical with Electronic Music.  There was one small limitation… it was to be made without Drums or Synths !!

 With literally only 4 days to make it happen, I had to come up with a gameplan that would allow the creative processes to unfold whilst maintaining a firm gaze on the goal.  From the initial brief, I immediately felt the main criteria was to produce a world class musical product that would be the soundtrack for a web based advertising campaign that would hopefully go viral and explode across the Internet!

With this in mind and considering the time factor which was incredibly short, I decided to create an integrated sonic soundscape that would present well both on the night, as a performance in a club venue and also as a (probably home-viewed) musical journey on film.  I knew that in order to create the world class, sophisticated soundtrack that was needed, I would have to rely on a computer based sequencing software at the heart of the project as it may be possible to achieve such sophistication on a tablet but it takes considerably longer to create a production of equal quality!

However I knew that the touchscreen technology would play a vital role in the production process and would in fact, due to its very nature, allow me to speed up certain aspects of the production process by having multitouch capability and the capacity to assign multiple parameters to each control therefore having huge sonic morphing possibilities.  In certain parts of the process, the touchscreen technologies were intrinsic to my being able to complete such preproduction in such an impossibly short amount of time.  Using tablet technology is like having a glimpse into the future and the nature of how this amazing new technology can speed up the creative process is inspiring, because ideas become more fluid.

The nature of the brief was to process sound using tablet technology.  I have been enjoying the magic of processing sound using DSP (digital signal processing)  in music for 20 years and having been a devoted witness to the advancement of technological capability.  The algorhythms that make up the DSP is written by scientists whose work is mechanical yet allows artists to make beauty from them.  This has been a huge passion of mine, using those algorithms to evolve and shift sound through myriad processes.  I can honestly say that the the touchscreen revolution is the latest leap into the collective future of making music but their operational capability is still not at the level of the average laptop (yet!).

If we were to have had an additional few days with the musicians together, we would have new integrative opportunities which would allow for deeper fusion, as the technology demands experimentation which takes time to formularise. Live looping occurs over time and with time to get together in the same room, tablet technology and classical musicians would jam and rehearse together to achieve that synergistic magic of deep musical collaboration.  Its a wonderful concept, classical musicians playing to a score and new technologists jamming with their hyperfuture instruments.  Given the timescale though, I feel we achieved marvellous musical results.
Heres to the future of sound!
– Darren Sangita

There are a number of technical issues that Darren had to take into consideration when working on a project like this, notably the current situation with audio interfaces, i.e. how to get high quality audio in and out of the iPad.  It seems that many users have had positive results using  a combination of : Apple’s Camera Connection Kit (CCK) > USB Cable > Powered USB Hub > Audio interface and Midi contollor.  At the moment any sound card that is Class Compliant will seem to do the job, but remember it must be self powered or able to take power from the USB Hub.
In this case he decided to use Native Instruments KOMPLETE Audio 6 as it worked effortlessly on first trial and also has a kick-ass output that he felt would sound awesome in the club scenario.
All in all , it was a super project to work on with fantastic music from Classical Composer Jamie Salisbury, lovely textures and timbres from the four classical Musicians and a great technical team to create a smooth running world class production environment.

Filter Coffee

Filter Coffee FCUK - Sangita web

Mumbai’s finest fusion ethnotronic outfit, FILTER COFFEE have arrived for their tour of UK which runs throughout July, including the Sangita Sounds & Inspiral Lounge event on 20th July 2013.  Untill now, most producers of electroacoustic indofusion music were not classically trained, but in Filter Coffe we hear the true fusion of two schools or traditions, the ancient North Indian Classical and the modern Electronic Technological.  Exciting music for exciting times!





Put together some guitar riffs, the sound of a bamboo flute, a tabla and throw in a funky electronic groove, brew it with some earthly vocals and you get ‘FILTER COFFEE’.

Filter Coffee is an Indian Folk – Electronic collaborative project brought to life by tabla player/percussionist Swarupa Ananth & flautist Shriram Sampath both who also double up as music producers. Their live performances include a unique blend of Indian Classical/Folk, instruments and voices with electronic grooves.

About Swarupa: – One half of “Filter Coffee”- Swarupa, a powerhouse performer, is one of the finest female tabla players in India. A disciple of Late Ustad Allarakha & Ustad Zakir Husain, a multitalented artiste, she plays the tabla, drums, djembe, bagalbaccha and a variety of percussion instruments from around the world.

About Shriram: – The other half of “Filter Coffee”, Shriram is a disciple of the World-renowned Flute Maestro Pundit Ronu Majumdar; Shriram specializes in playing the Indian Bansuri. Apart from the Bansuri, he’s also well versed with playing woodwinds like the Chinese Dizi, Bamboo Saxophone, Metal Flutes, Penny whistle, Didgeridoo, Ney – Egyptian flutes.

Filter Coffee 2 - Sangita Sounds Filter Coffee - Sangita Sounds

Pandit Dalchand Sharma

Enjoy a mesmerising clip of a Pakhawaj solo from Dalchand Sharma with Santosh Mishra on Sarangi.  Filmed in HD at the Dhrupoad Mela, Varanasi, 2012 by Dom.  Here is  a fascinating article on musical insights of master Pakhawaj player from India, Pandit Dal Chand Sharma :-

Pandit Dalchand Sharma is one of the finest exponents of pakhawaj as a soloist as well as an accompanying artiste. Trained under gurus like Pandit Totaram Sharma, Pandit Murlidhar Sharma and Pandit Purushottam Das of the Nathdwara tradition associated with the Nathdwara temple of Rajasthan in the authentic guru-shishya parampara; he has further enhanced his style with his intellectual approach towards the theory and practice of this ancient percussion instrument. It is always an enlightening and delightful experience to interact with him about the art of pakhawaj. At the outset, he seems quite concerned about the longevity of this rare percussion instrument since it has been confined to the accompaniment of just the Dhrupad and the Been traditions, which themselves have just a few practitioners left, but then he sounds confident about the versatility of this instrument.

He is perhaps the first pakhawaj vidwan who has thought about emulating the nine rasas on this instrument as described by Bharata Muni in his “Natya Shastra.” It is a delight to listen to his dramatic padhant (reciting of mnemonics) with the delicate nuances of shringar or veer rasa. He is in fact equally brilliant in his padhant and bajant i.e., the art of reciting and playing respectively, when it comes to the depiction of different rasas.

The reason behind this is his deep knowledge of sangeet (music) and sahitya (literature). Apart from the pakhawaj, he has also been trained in Dhrupad and Khayal singing and tabla . He has sufficient knowledge of Sanskrit and Hindi literature, especially the poetry of the Ashtachhaap poets of the Bhakti Yuga. He relates these to the bols of different parans and kavits of his gharana. He can differentiate between the bols of tabla and pakhawaj, hence takes care not to mix the two. A lot of importance is given to melody and tonal clarity in his gharana, notes the stalwart. Difficult part

“Mastering the ‘thaap’ is the first and the most difficult step in pakhawaj playing,” says the maestro. It is like mastering the ‘swara-sthaan’ (singing the notes accurately) before proceeding to sing compositions in vocal music. The bols come effectively only after mastering the thaap. Nathadwara style, he explains, is different from other style like the Nana Panse, which is softer. It is more akin to Kudau Singh style which is forceful and energetic. The use of ‘dhin-nak’ is an important and special feature of Nathdwara gharana. Pandit Dal Chand’s individual addition to this style is the discrimination of using the softer and forceful effects according to the need of the particular rasa at that point. This makes his pakhawaj accompaniment much more desirable to match the rasa of the Dhrupad/Dhamar compositions being sung by the dhrupadia.

The veteran has played solo concerts and accompanied the topmost Dhrupad singers and Rudra veena players at home and abroad. He is an equally renowned guru who has trained a number of Indian and foreign students of good repute. His tala-vadya kacheri and swara-laya samvaad with Hindustani, Carnatic and Western percussionists have earned him critical acclaim.

While he seems truly satisfied with his sadhana, he vents his frustration that awards go elsewhere, just because, as he says, he doesn’t know the art of manipulation.

Copyright | © 2010 The Hindu Newspaper


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