Bandish Projekt :: correkt
When Bandish Projekt first appeared on, and destroyed all stereotypes of, the Asian electronica scene in 2003, via the now legendary "Electronik Dausa," few of us had heard IDM with so much warmth and perspective. Hindi Remixes and Bollywood scores (Bhor) notwithstanding, Bandish Projekt displayed brilliance in realms where Mayur's tabla and vocal bols and Udyan's beat programming were in perfect tandem (the lesser known Ahmedabad EP and their exciting live sets).
The mid 2000s were spent waiting for snippets of the duo's original productions and while they came few and far between, it was okay as it was all a buildup to their studio album that was promised. Alas, like many highly anticipated projects, this one never materialized. Instead came the news that Mayur and Udyan were going their separate ways, musically. Mayur continued to tour and record as Bandish Projekt, a platform for his more electro/house and 4/4 focused dance leanings while Udyan, with his stage name Nucleya, found his calling and niche in India's burgeoning dubstep scene. What drove the boys to split up and halt the trajectory that was so obvious in their future, we'll never know but their latest productions as individuals show vastly different styles. The only overlaps are their love for basslines and Indian classical music.
Mayur's debut full length as a solo artist is Correkt, a collection of 12 productions running the gamut from electro-house to IDM and breakbeat. "Pragat Pritam" is an updated Bandish Projekt (pre-split) classic — seven minutes of driving live bass from - who else but the don of the instrument himself - Asian Dub Foundation's Dr. Das, vocals by Shruti Pathak (who was introduced to the Bollywood masses via the mega successful soundtrack to Fashion in 2009) and breakbeat synchronicity from the Projekt. "12345" ranks amongst our favorite productions in the past 12 months — minimal dubstep coupled with the most sublime of verses by fellow Ahmedabad native, Darshana Shah and tabla bols from Mayur himself.
One of the strengths that Mayur displays brilliantly is his uncanny knack of picking up the most obscure or random of source material and building a respectable electronic track around it. No other song demonstrates this more than "Didi 1." Growing up in India in the early 80's you were prone to seeing PSA's on Doordarshan all the time — one of the most popular ones was "Ek Anek Aur Ekta," an animated fable about the importance of unity. The Projekt has turned into this simple child's PSA into a bass heavy assault on the senses. If you know the original material you cannot help feeling nostalgic after hearing Mayur's version and nostalgia runs through a lot of Correkt.
Straightforward house-y 4/4 beats dominate "Folk Tronic," again building upon obscure folk singing by the Langhas community of Rajasthan. With "Garba Rave" we have possibly the first electronic Garba (a folk dance originating from Gujarat) anthem on our hands. While this pair of tracks would probably resonate with the conditioned listener, we look for the more disparate and dark sound of the Projekt. He gives us just that in the last few tracks on the album — "Do What Your Good At" and "Waiting" are pure, intensely mesmerizing ambient electronic tracks.
Mayur has put our an extremely diverse and commendable album — one which gives the Asian Electronica fan base even more hope in the Indian music scene. Still, there remain many parallels between Mayur's and Udyan's music. Strangely, Udyan's "Beat 1," released at the same time, is the exact same track as "12345." Also, the verse by Shane Solanki (formerly the Anokha-affiliated Milky Bar Kid, now better known as Last Mango in Paris), used in the intro of Udyan's dark dubstep remake of "Pragat Pritam" is the exact same one used in "Waiting." Obviously it remains to be seen whether these two musical innovators and ex-partners will ever collaborate again but in their new guises, they sound just as luminous and cutting edge.