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The Sine Painter Builds a Bizarre Virtual Universe for Debut EP

Bengaluru producer Jayanth Ramchandra’s four-track release ‘URL Utopias’ is accompanied by a dark, immersive microsite

Aditi Dharmadhikari May 22, 2017
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The Sine Painter performs at the RBMA stage at Magnetic Fields Festival 2015 in Alsisar Palace in Rajasthan, India on December 18th, 2015. Photo: Neville Sukhia

“This EP was about asking–what are the rhythms around me, and how can I break them down and re-contextualize them?” says The Sine Painter. Photo: Neville Sukhia

With the release of URL Utopias, The Sine Painter marks a turning point in how listeners can experience music in the digital age. The Bengaluru-based Red Bull Music Academy 2016 alumnus has been shape-shifting sonically since he started producing music three years ago, transitioning from a laid-back deep house vibe to a more experimental sound.

This release departs from the usual music streaming platforms to manifest as an interactive microsite hosted by Red Bull, which creates a dystopian, revolving virtual universe through which we experience the four tracks. You won’t right away find the usual social media links every artist’s page includes, and it might take you a few to find the link to his EP, as well–scattered as they are amongst icons of dragon heads, fist bumps, laptop screens and stacks of pancakes.       

“Today, a lot of the music we consume is digital, and a lot of that is web-based,” says Jayanth Ramchandra aka The Sine Painter. “Given the kind of technology that is available to us, I feel like there is so much more potential to explore the way we release music, outside of the traditional way, which is limited to a track list and square cover art.”

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Earlier this year, over the course of two months, Ramchandra went on to teach himself web development, 3D modeling and animation, using online developer tools and tutorials. The EP itself has been sliced into two parts: – Pt.1 and – Pt. 2 treading into terse, rhythm-driven realms and + Pt. 1 and + Pt. 2 brimming with melodies, and a certain uplifting quality that drives them home. 

The homepage of the microsite that The Sine Painter has created for 'URL Utopias'

The homepage of the microsite that The Sine Painter has created for ‘URL Utopias’

“I don’t really see myself discovering new sounds and rhythms; this EP was about asking–what are the rhythms around me, and how can I break them down and re-contextualize them?” says Ramchandra. “A lot of my older releases have been working along the same lines–taking components from one place, putting them in places they’re not supposed to be, but making it work.”

Ramchandra cites Fractal Fantasy, comprising Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones (who played the Bengaluru Boiler Room session recently) as a conceptual influence. “They work with web artists, and put the music and web art together in really interesting ways,” he says. “It makes a lot of sense to me, and I felt like this is where we should be headed in terms of how we are presenting music today, beyond YouTube videos and SoundCloud links. If we had these little pockets for different work, the way they do, that have a visually and sonically consistent aesthetic, it would be possible to have a concept, and to completely immerse your viewer in it with this technology.” Visually, web artists whose works he has drawn from include Cabbibo (Isaac Cohen), Ezra Miller, Altered Qualia and everyone who works on the Fractal Fantasy web art.

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While he accedes he hasn’t explored the works of too many artists doing similar work closer home, Aerate Sound–who also played Boiler Room in Bengaluru–is an artist he brings up for their audio visual sets. “The whole Consolidate crew. They find that balance between weird, accessible and expression, and they have been relentlessly pushing that,” says Ramachandra, who recently wrapped up a four-city tour across India to promote the EP.

As for his future releases, Ramchandra is pretty certain that there is no looking back from an experience like ”˜URL Utopias’, confessing, “I can’t present work without it being interactive now. I want to have the experience of molding that world, to push the boundaries of just how immersive an experience can be created. A VR exhibition was, in fact, one of the ideas I had been toying with, that just might be the next step.”

Listen to ‘URL Utopias’ here.

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