Is Indian Electronica having its moment with Tech Panda & Kenzani?
Every so often I do sit back and marvel at where the world was the day I graduated college, two decades ago, and where we are now. Only one who has witnessed the birth, proliferation and eventual decline of the compact disc can regale you with such bonny tales. Come to think of it, with the amount of money I'd invested in then-trending music CDs, adjusted for inflation, I could have bought a decent mid-sized car or possibly have invested it in a startup (no exaggerating here). Audio cassettes, still popular in those days, simply didn't cut it and especially not for one who enjoyed electronic music. Such extravagances are unheard of today, and that too on music for the sole purpose of listening to it? Unimaginable in an age where access to hundreds of thousands of high-quality songs and albums costs around 1000 rupees per year, the cost of two CDs back in the nineties!
Alright, I admit that this rant was triggered at 4 am (I’m nocturnal) by the Indian electronic duo, Tech Panda & Kenzani. Following my footsteps backwards and what led me down the path to excavating recollections of my late teens and early twenties was merely that I'd listened to their music on Spotify.
It's been a rare pleasure to see the duo, comprising Rupinder Nanda and Kedar Santwani, meander through Indian classical fused with western sounds in the past (They have a sizeable international fanbase, 24k monthly listeners on Spotify).
I was curious to see how they'd fare sans Indian classical. We get hundreds of electronic singles, fusion and otherwise, and I almost always toss them aside. The benchmark for versatility and stories told with little or no lyrical aid has always been the late Robert Miles, his early work and then his subsequent collaborations with Gurtu, Sawhney Et Al.
Verdict? Tech Panda & Kenzani are bloody good.
Their 2020 release Together, married to footage starring Bulgarian improvisational dancer Emphis A and directed by visual artist Dimitar Drew and I'm guessing shot in Greece, is an infectious seaside delight for the lack of a better reference. But when one closes one's eyes, it causes one to bethink the cultural cliche of a dusk entry into a Parisian lounge bar. Or maybe a rainy Mumbai afternoon drive. Or then again, flash-frame visuals of a calm walk down London's Southbank waterfront on a Sunday morning. Talk about a variety of distinct Deja Vu feels!