Unless you were born in the streaming era, which we’re told some of you were, burning mix CDs and recording mixtapes was an essential part of growing up. Space was limited and access was sparse. After listening to a mountain of music, you carefully decided which one would go on the mix that would accompany you for a month or so. Some of us had to have a couple of mixes to keep us going for different moods.
Streaming changed everything, putting music at our fingertips quite literally. And then streaming was hijacked by advertising, which led to the creation of echo-chambers. Who spent how much decided which artist made it through the maximum or the biggest echo chambers. In this modern landscape of capitalist intentions, compilations have a way to break through and highlight new artists.
The last couple of years have particularly seen an increase in the number of compilations, accompanied by an increase in a number of independent labels. Labels get behind genres, and push artists, both old and new, with the compilation. An exciting label that regularly releases work by both Indian and international artists has been 4NC¥.
Back in February 2021, they put the word out for the hottest South Asian producers on their social media profiles and 1 week later, Mumbai-based brijplease responded with the seed for “emergence”. A historical moment, this compilation intends to give these South Asian electronic music producers a legitimate vehicle to broadcast their music outside the confines of the subcontinent. “emergence” compilation presents the most exciting and forward-thinking Indian independent artists in 2021!
The compilation is one that stands apart from what we’ve heard of late. Some of the producers might have showed up on your radar in the past, if you’re in drums and bass music but this neat compilation if you want to get a snapshot of where the landscape of independent bass music in India is heading to. The compilation begins with laidback, but intense tracks by Gaya and Dropped Out. Corridors comes up next, bringing in his characteristic intelligentsia meets electronic music, with an IDM footwork tune. Things lighten with Insowmya’s ready to dance track before reverting to their mysterious self with a banger by B3ats Infinity and Wroc. The compilation ends with Drum and Bass tunes by Aeon Waves & Ukato.
Brij has been a talent to watch out for on the Indian music scene for a while. He produces under the moniker ‘three oscillators’ although he doesn’t have a track on this compilation. It is a mark of how important the job of a curator is, when he steps out of the producing shoes and takes on the curating whole heartedly.
Here’s a snapshot of his thoughts on the compilation
- Thank you Brij, for putting out a compilation with genres and artists we don’t hear from often. Compilations do a great deal in advancing the general diversity of the scene. As the curator of this compilation, what was your motivation? How did it change/evolve during the process?
I’ve been motivated to push talent ever since I reached a point in my music making journey where I was in a position to do that. For me, being a part of jwala kickstarted this whole curation journey because we were hunting for so much fresh music from such amazing producers in the subcontinent and it all blew my mind. Ever since then, I’ve personally been on the lookout for anyone making cool sounds and putting them out there. 4NC¥ was kind enough to give me a chance to showcase the best of the best on their expansive catalog and from that point onward, I just did my thing!
- What impact do you want the compilation to have?
It’s 2021, and the message is loud and clear as it has been for the last 4 years: you don’t need to be in “the (gig) scene” for your music to be heard. All you need is an internet connection and some internet friends who love your music as much as you love theirs. If the music is great, the recognition will follow. I’m just a catalyst for that sort of recognition to happen for everyone on this compilation and on the next few releases. The impact has already happened. Now it’s just about spreading the music within and beyond the subcontinent.
- How was your experience of working on the compilation? What are the unexpected parts that might have been unknown to you as an artist, but which you understood while working on this?
None of my tunes are on this. It was a conscious decision on my part, and I’m doing it for the music makers I want to shout out. Working with 4NC¥ on this has been super smooth, and curating compilations like this isn’t new to me: we did a lot of work on that front as jwala and that knowledge helped me curate this one.
- How do you feel about the state of electronic music, both about the community and the quality, right now?
Quality has gone wayyyyy up! A lot of very good electronic music has come out of this country since the last 2 years and it makes me very happy! As for the state of electronic music here, I feel like there are too many producers and too few listeners and that needs to change somehow. Alternative electronic music is still a niche in India and it’ll either take a gateway to these genres (like what Nucleya and Ritviz did) or an international presence for producers here to be heard out there.