In the 21st century, electronic, fusion and experimental genres of music have been on an all-time high. Technology becoming increasingly accessible and acquirable, we have had more and more artists mastering these forms of music production. An immensely performed, relevant and an explorative genre in today’s time, the Asian Underground is not just the amalgamation of different soundscapes, genres and styles of music, but also the blend of musical influences and personalities. Well, let’s take a closer look into the pioneers of this genre-Karsh Kale & the MIDIval Punditz.
Tanya Sujan | BeatCurry Team
Karsh Kale is one of the leading pioneers of Asian Underground music in India. Asian Underground genre is mainly defined as a fusion of Western underground dance music with traditional Asian music. Karsh Kale, an Indian born in the United Kingdom, began his career as a backing musician but went onto become a part of Asian Fusion bands such as Tabla Beat Science, which gave one of the most influential albums to the genre, Tala Matrix. He currently showcases live ensembles and creates albums with his own Karsh Kale Collective and does solo shows and albums too. He has collaborated with some names recognised internationally, such as Zakir Hussain, Ustad Sultan Khan, Apeksha Dandekar, Benny Dayal, and Anoushka Shankar, while his songwriting credits include songs with Sting and Norah Jones.
Another contemporary of Karsh Kale, a music-duo that’s more often than not seen collaborating with world music artists is MIDIval Punditz. The Punditz duo, Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj, are Delhi-based musicians specialising in genres such as bhangra, old-school jungle, electronica, and North Indian classical music, trying to bring in the raw sounds of traditional, Indian classical and electronic musical instruments in their music. Their unique amalgamation of these genres not only makes their music unique but appealing to the younger masses.
Also known as Chemical Brothers of India, Raina and Raj have used some of the most talented vocalists and instrumentalists of Indian folks, such as Kutle Khan (Rajasthani folk singer), Papon (singer), Ajay Prasanna (flautist) in their albums. They share a special musical bond with their longtime collaborator since the beginning of their careers. They were also featured together on the cover of The Rolling Stone magazine. The duo along with Kale has made some of the most popular songs of their career such as Naina Laagey, Milan, and Challa.
These ‘Urban Pundits of Sound’ have set their feet in Bollywood with their favourite collaborator Karsh Kale in the ‘Train Song’ for the movie Gully Boy which was India’s official entry to the 92nd Academy Awards in the Best International Feature Film category.
Every song, every composition is a soulful, ecstatic and a dynamic musical experience in itself. Certainly, what remains exceptional with Karsh Kale and MIDIval Punditz is their constant idea of reinventing and refurbishing genres, while remaining absolutely true to their music.
If you’d like to know more about such unique and versatile forms and flavours of music,
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