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Updated: June 9, 2014 17:39 IST

Mash-up moments

NIRMALA GOVINDARAJAN
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Sandeep says the he is inspired by cinematic music.
Special Arrangement Sandeep says the he is inspired by cinematic music.

Sandeep Madhavan says his new album, Deluge, integrates sounds from theatre, poetry and film

Creativity is a re-writing of rules for bassist Sandeep Madhavan. It’s the ruling mantra of this former adman turned musician, with a fetish for sounds that echo the body. Tune in to rules gone berserk with Deluge, Sandeep’s second album in the Burning Deck series. “The sounds for this series, which began with the first album Kalintha, come with assimilations from drum, bass, dubstep and Asian underground and were meant to be out of the box.” This initial offering from Burning Deck is punctuated with influences from 70s progressive rock, jazz fusion and the Bristol sound of the 70s.

Waiting to be had on the rocks, Deluge “embraces live instrumentation and darker, slithering themes, with songs featuring trumpet, vocals, violin, flute, guitar and drums’, performed by a host of Indian and international independent artists such as Kartik Basker (The Bicycle Days), Arfaaz Kaagalwala (Fuzzy Logic), Katie Mackay (Reason Breeds Monsters), Bharath Kumar (Lucky Ali), Arjun MPN (Aks), Yadhunandan Nagaraj (Vasundhara Das), Gijsbert Ackermans (Old Jungle Saying) and Ginette Bernardini (Kitchenkin)’. “We’re launching the album at Humming Tree on June 13 with the artists and some surprise guests, perhaps,” says Sandeep.

His music quotient, the genre, the diversity and the way he integrates sounds for compositions, which befit varied arts, including theatre, poetry, film and sheer audio is all about ‘mashups’. “It’s about the subtle ones that creep up on you by the fourth listen and give you that light bulb moment. I'm influenced by cinematic music, so that joins the mix, more evidently in Deluge than it did in Kalinihta. Also, my understanding of production has become a lot better over the last year. I like writing music for theatre. There is a lot of freedom in tweaking sounds to fit the mood and directors with a good vision know what they want, which makes it easier. When actors start improvising to fit your music, you know you have made something a little special. My compositions depend on what mood I am in, who I am collaborating with, where they want to take the music to and whether I am okay with that journey.”

On the trip with Deluge, Sandeep’s signature canvas is mostly ‘minor key, melodic and melancholy’. “The idea comes from a line of lyrics, a piano or guitar progression or a bass line. There is no particular starting point, but I don't usually begin with beats because my interest is consumed by unusually long intros,” he explains. Lingering, exploring, experimenting, collaborating with artists across genres, Sandeep’s days are underlined with projects – The Water Colour Orchestra in tune with Paul Fernandes’ illustrations Swinging in the 70s, music for the theatrical performance Prelude to the Broken Silence and the film SOS. “I look forward to making a new bunch of beautiful mistakes I can call songs by the end of the year.”

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