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Invoking Divinity

Ethno-electro outfit Tatva Kundalini makes its mark with two back to back album releases

Neha Sharma Jan 19, 2009

Dog owners usually have a way of comforting strangers who are wary of their predatory pets ”“ first they hold back the charging beast, next they slip in that reassuring line “he doesn’t bite.” Walking into electronic collective Tatva Kundalini founder Aditya Anand’s house at Versova in Mumbai, I am faced with a similar situation, as his adopted stray barks incessantly. Even as I express concern, Anand sternly insists that the dog stay loose, slipping in that “he has bitten some people before.” The only thought that runs through my mind at this point:Is this guy for real?!

The dog experience was just the beginning of an `experience’. The Tatva abode buzzes with talk of auras, existential dilemmas and otherworldly insights, about which Anand believes his knowledge is absolute; at least he gives the impression he does. “You have a very buzzy aura,” he tells me with conviction. The seemingly omniscient seer also believes in reaffirmation; in his humble home studio he has charts pinned up which state ”˜Money loves us’ and ”˜We have a Million Dollars’. “I need at least a million dollars to revolutionise the Indian music scene,” he explains. Much inspired by Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, one can now understand where the 25 year old is coming from.

He is garrulous, self-opinionated and at times over bearing. But as one peels away that layer of first impression, Anand is a guy whose intentions are harmless. He confirms that he is misunderstood by many people due to which his career has suffered. I suspect a Goa Gill in the making, who later Anand lets me know, is a good friend. He is one of the most hardworking musicians around, composing, performing live and managing his label Chill Om Records. It is among India’s biggest in the electronic music arena with a roster of 17 artistes, both local and international.

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Anand talks me through his beginnings as a metalhead to his current passion for psy trance. He will, he predicts, at some point come full circle and venture back into metal. In the meanwhile he has two new albums waiting to be released. Jack n Jill, which will come out next month, is Tatva’s first foray into the sub-genre of progressive music, and is a collaboration with his journalist turned singer and girlfriend Sridevi Kesavan (24) aka Taamara, who is a quiet presence during our conversation. “I play a lot of progressive music on my sets, but it would be an unexpected shift for fans who haven’t heard us dabble in progressive on our own compositions,” he finally says. Anand suggests this is essentially a fun record, his attempt to move away from the solemn intensity of his three previous albums which were mostly ethno-electronic and drum n bass. Kesavan, a classical vocalist, brings a raga laced aria to the Tatva sound. Anand played the whole album live for the very first time at Sunburn, Goa recently.

Swaraaj, Anand’s compilation of select tracks of Chill Om artistes was released on the Times label on December 22. This is the first in a series Anand hopes to follow up on annually, releasing one album on January 26 every year. The album also features two Tatva tracks, one called ”˜Kashi’ featuring Taamara, which Anand says was written for Jack n Jill, and other called ”˜Shiva’ whose video is now a topic of conversation in music circles. Anand is an intense devotee of Lord Shiva and the video is a homage to him. It features several trishuls (tridents) grounded around what we assume to be a dead body, with a sagely seer performing rituals evidently intending to resurrect the person. Interspersed are frames of more religious/spiritual allusions with glimpses of Kali and Shiva. The video might face some heat if aired, which Anand well understands, but chooses to stick by his guns. “It is coming from a very pure place, from a nucleus which has been installed by Shivji himself,” he says.

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