jalebee cartel :: onepointnothing
For a nation that boasts as celebrated and world-renowned an arts and culture scene as India does, its homegrown electronic dance music has failed to make a dent on the international circuit until very recently. Even the Indian party capital of Goa is more well-known for its Israel imported DJs and promoters than for the Desis who flock to its beaches for its all night raves. Sure, there are the Talvins, Karshs and Nitins of the world but even they have made their homes and studios in far corners of the globe and are about as homegrown as the Slumdog antics of Dev Patel.
The first major breakthrough for Indian produced electronic music was the signing of Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj, better known as the MIDIval PunditZ, to San Francisco's fusion-centric Six Degrees label. The as the mainstream prominence of the PunditZ grew it was paralleled by the increasing popularity on the underground Indian club scene of a four member team called Jalebee Cartel.
At the heart of the Jalebee sound lies a true passion for, and understanding of, EDM - the two ingredients necessary to catapult Arjun Vagale (laptop, mixing and scratching), Ashvin Mani Sharma (laptop and synths), Ash Roy (vocals and percussions) and G-force Arjun (backing vocals and bass) into the sets and crates of international DJs. Onepointnothing is a tour de force dance album, set around the live-based sound that is the Jalebee Cartel experience.
First single, Nokia advertisement soundtrack and album highlight, "Tough Cookie", is full of fuzzy synths and propulsive dance rhythms; a truly resounding techno anthem. BBC Radio One DJ and dance music's most prominent tastemaker, Pete Tong, has supported "Apartment 88" on his show and it's easy to see why - the track is destined for global dancefloor acclaim. As fans and critics of the ever evolving Indian dance music scene, since its days of infancy, we never thought the day would come when a track by a band from the Sub-continent would be caned so heavily by the likes of Tongy. "A Crazy Virus on Akerstraat" is another of those hands-in-the-air, euphoric, anthemic tunes that straddles the line between house, techno and electronica. And yes, there is a difference between those three genres.
A number of the Ash Roy-led vocal tracks, especially, "Blue Over Red" and "Beautiful Rising", echo the Gui Boratto style of EDM - percussive, down-to-mid-tempo electronics that are more suited for home listening as opposed to the 4/4 driven beats of the dance tunes.
The breadth of Onepointnothing is certainly impressive - Jalebee Cartel has created a debut that is as international in its outlook (you'll find very few Indian-influenced sounds here) as it is forward-looking in its promise of putting India on the electronic dance music map.