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Preview: FolkTronic & GlitchPhonic @ Blue Frog, Mumbai

Spoonbill, Ez Riser bring the glitch, while Shri and Vivek Rajagopalan bring the FolkTronica to the Blue Frog this Saturday. Here’s why you should go.

22 Mar, 2013

Abhimanyu Meer


The explosion of electronic music gigs in India over the last few years has been nothing short of spectacular. Thanks to agencies like KRUNK, Audio Aashram, Submerge, OML, and others, the country’s been witness to shows by critically-acclaimed, cutting-edge acts Opiuo, KOAN Sound, London Elektricity, LeMaitre, Michal Menert, and Richie Hawtin, alongside commercial biggies like David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Fatboy Slim and Avicii, while simultaneously producing some world-class homegrown talent. With Tiesto en route, there’s no better time than now to be an EDM fan in India. This Saturday, March 23, will see a another huge gig at the Frog called FolkTronic & GlitchPhonic. The FolkTronic half of the night will see performances by Shrilektric and Vivek Rajagopalan, and the GlitchPhonic half will deliver sets by Aussie electronica wizard/sound designer Spoonbill who will be bringing his sonic palette to the country and Mumbai glitch and bass baddie Ez Riser. Those unfamiliar with the music on offer for the night should read this preview to know what’s in store this weekend in the Bay City.

While it’s easy to dump Spoonbill’s overall sound into those now over-used categories of bass or glitch music, the man’s sound (much like the Brazilian Amon Tobin’s) manages to cut across boundaries. To a trained ear, Spoonbill’s music is a heady mix of glitch-hop, interspersed with the kind of noises (good, wacky noises) that are common to psychedelic music. It’s no wonder that lovers of psychedelic rock and psychedelic trance comprise a large chunk of Spoonbill’s fan base around the world. And considering both genres are pretty left field, its fair to say, after concentrated listens to Spoonbill’s body of work, that he’s a pretty left of center producer too. As a producer who generally eschews the use of samples, Spoonbill takes it to another level, creating and experimenting with instruments both indigenous and unconventional. In a 2009 interview with Audio Technology Mag, the man demonstrates the use of an indigenous percussive instrument (also a children’s toy in India), a thumb piano (kalimba) and other weird-ass shit. Tech-talk aside, Spoonbill’s got some amazing, groovy-ass music to dance to, and some of it is also really light-hearted but fully psychedelic. Take ‘Woodenspoon’ (one of my favourites) below for example (classified on his Soundcloud as ‘wonkadelic’).

With tempos of his songs ranging in bpm from the mid-70 mark all the way to a trance-like 140, there’s a variety on offer, and considering Spoonbill’s headlining and playing the last slot, there’s a chance he might switch things up towards the end of the night and give Mumbai the heavy, up-tempo smack it needs once in a while. KRUNK’s honcho Sohail Arora (aka Ez Riser) had some more to say about Spoonbill

Spoonbill is one of the biggest influences in my music and probably the reason I moved towards making glitch music in the first place. To me, he’s the master of mixing glitch with punk rock elements, and I’m really excited to be playing the same night as him.

Opening up for Spoonbill is Ez Riser himself. His name’s been popping up so often on Facebook event feeds, it’s fair to assume he’s got the Bay City’s bass-loving crowd on some kind of cochlear lockdown. Always dependable, and often experimenting in his sets (the hip-hop oriented stuff he threw down opening for Dualist last Friday was the bomb; pics), Ez’s set will be the one that gets ears and gears going before the headlining act takes stage. He told us what he’s got in store for audiences on the night

I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of glitch, and on Friday, I’ll most likely play a slower form of what I usually do, different from what I played last week at Sahej’s show. It’s gonna be an entirely fresh set from me.

Check out an edition of 5electronic with Ez Riser over here, and stream his latest Wild City mix below.

The Folktronic part of the night kicks off earlier with multi-instrumentalist and breakbeat pop artist Shri bringing his Shrilektric project to the Blue Frog stage once again. NH7 caught a previous Shrilektric performance in Mumbai (more here), and Shrilektric also took their cutting-edge music to the Bacardi NH7 Weekender 2012, Pune (roundup). Shri was featured on an episode of the The Dewarists where he collaborated with Rajasthan Roots and Monica ‘Shaa’ir’ Dogra. Check out some Shrilektric music below, and make sure you’re early enough to catch his great live act. Check out this mean bass solo by Shri below.

Percussionist Vivek Rajagopalan has been on drumming duties for Shrilektric before and it’s likely that he’ll pull a double-shift on Friday night. However, it’s his Rhythm Lab project that will definitely be the main draw at the Folktronic part of the night. His new performance centers on a revolutionary drum kit consisting of a bass drum, hi-hats, a Marathi folk instrument knows as a chenda in place of a snare, a looper, a mridangam, a kanjira, and a MIDI keyboard. It’ll be interesting to see what Rajagopalan’s Rhythm Lab can churn out and from what we’ve heard about it, it’ll utilize effects and different instruments while staying true to his signature, earthy electronica and drum ‘n’ bass sound, blended in with classical and folk influences.

It’s set to be a great Saturday night at the Blue Frog, one that’ll see two or more completely different genres of music over the course of a few hours. Although I imagine fans of FolkTronica might want to bounce right after they get their fill of Shrilektric and Vivek Rajagopalan’s Rhythm Lab, we recommend they stay on for what’s surely gonna be one hell of an unadulterated, glitchy, dance party with Ez Riser and Spoonbill.

Folktronic + Glitchphonic takes place at the Blue Frog, Mumbai, this Saturday, March 22. Entry is still free for the ladies all of March at the Blue Frog, and for gents, the night will set you back Rs 600 post-9pm. See you at the show.

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