It has been a long time coming, but India has seen an explosion of alternative sounds in the past few years. In the current wave that is riding the techno scene, leftfield has managed to make its mark. Leftfield techno is a mixture of the genres you wouldn’t hear in the “main rooms”. Often wavering away from a 4/4 kick, incorporating world influences, off-kilter percussion, and inspiration from other genres like trance, post-punk, and EBM is common. In the last two years, more local artists have launched monikers like Elefants by Chhabb and Bhish, two veterans on the scene. At the forefront of fostering a homegrown scene is Far Out Left. What started out as a boutique music festival, curated by Regenerate Music in collaboration with Social, launched a records label and a compilation in anticipation of 2019’s festival edition held in Mumbai.
Far Out Left aims at encouraging electronic music inclusivity with genre-agnostic music rooted in alternative sounds that brings together a community. The line up for their festival was a curation of alternative electronic artists from India and across the world who represented this. With their compilation, which focuses only on homegrown talent, also represents the same.
There is an overarching left-field techno sound to the compilation that features promising talent like FILM, Kohra, Zequenx amongst others. While the album contains 9 tracks by 9 artists, there is careful consideration in how the compilation comes together to represent a unified sound. It starts out with the cyborg-ish sounds by Zequenx, layered with synths making the track sound like lift-off.
The next 4 tracks play with similar beats but keep things interesting with varied sounds. he progression of intensity with each track transports you into a Star Wars-ish realm with melodies drawn from machine like sounds. Kohra’s Tariq nails the art of picking up pace and dropping the melody at the right moment. With Flacid Test by Butter Bunz, you start to feel a shift in the mood from laidback to groovy.
The next 3 tracks are heavier on the bass and maintain a higher tempo. The balance of the bass against the melodies in Chhab’s Stiff Culture, pulsates the track from inside out, peaking the energy of the compilation. As we move towards the end with Dice by Elefants, the energy sustains with high bass and treble, while the tempo tapers off towards the end.
The compilation was released 2 weeks before the FOL festival and was meant to serve as a launch for FOL records as well as provide a peak into the artists performing at the festival’s editions. Compilations such as these provide a great platform for a growing pool of bright talent to reach audiences. They also help distinguish in the noisy space of electronic music festivals. With the homogeneity of their approach in the festival, line-up and compilation, FOL has definitely created a solid space to grow from!