Midival Punditz Midival Punditz Review

BBC Review

Debut album from New Delhi team of DJs and producers. Electronic grooves fused with...

Faye Burton 2003

Midival Punditz, the first Indian electronica band to sign to an international label, have recreated the sound of Asian ambience and trance in a melting of Indian classical and contemporary club music.

The musical partnership of Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj dates back to childhood, a friendship which helps explain the ease with which their talents gel on the album. Veterans of the New Delhi club scene, the Punditz set up their own studio in 1997, gaining instant respect from the Asian Massive group of DJs, including Talvin Singh and becoming part of Tabla Beat Science.

Fusing folk and electronica can appear premeditated: a mix of too many sounds and not enough subtlety. But not here. This is masterfully produced, each sound meticulously placed with heart and soul, for maximum impact.

The album creates equal space for past and present, East and West, but it's the Punditz first love for Indian classical music which creates its depth and beauty. 'Fabric', is recognisable from the "Monsoon Wedding" soundtrack, and builds looping electronica upon a ghazal sung by 50s star, Heera Devi Misra. The propulsive rhythm of 'Extasis' is far more trance orientated, mixing intelligent drum 'n' bass with soaring santur laden raga. The wholly ambient 'Night' stands out as a vast work, the space between ancient and digital culture radiating soulful sound.

With track titles including 'Forest Dream' and 'Far From Home', this is music to take you far away to extraordinary worlds! Its intrigue lies in the fact that not one track remains the same, but constantly evolves on each listening. Closing the album, 'Dark Age' is an extraordinary piece of music, lost in the snake like travels of Shailendar's bansuri flute, dark beats and haunting semi-classical vocals, it opens itself up to constant exploration.

This album lacks for not a single beat and the sounds of tabla, sarangi and synth are heightened to the max. The experience is over all too quickly: put it on repeat and take the trip over and over again!

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