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- Electronic - Dubstep
RAC '12- INDIA SUBMISSION
MAURYA THUNDER BY MOONBURN
When I first chose to write a dubstep- Goa fusion track for India, I felt a little trepidation (read: I almost posted straight afterwards to withdraw my application). Thing is, India has a VERY rich cultural background. If I got too far into some Bhangra elements, my music would become riddled with clichÃ©s, a novelty track. If I tried to go into the typical deep, rolling sound of dubstep, I'd just sound likea cheap Chase and Status.
I hope this got the balance right. The Raag (kind of like a scale, though there are also rules on intonation within a Indian Raaga, for example in my piece, the Pa is always approached through the Ma and the Dha is generally approached through vibrato on the Pa) I used to write it uses the flattened Ri, Dha and Ni, with Sa, Ga, Ma and Pa all natural. I was interested by the manner in which Indian classical musicians used expressive portamento, so I tried to make the most of that in the dubstep section.
Overall I just hope you enjoy.
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------------EXTRA NOTES ON RESEARCH-------------
In Indian classical music, a raag would often be used. This would contain seven notes (Sa Ri Ga Me Pa Dha Ni) which all natural would be a natural major scale. I won't go into them fully here, but there are strict rules as to how you can flatten or sharpen such notes for a raag. For mine, I flattened Ri, Dha and Ni mainly because in my research I listened to an inspirational raag, Raag Bhairav which used a natural Ga, and a flattened Dha, having the effect of creating a majestic yet sorrowful mood.
I spoke to my boss at work (a devout Hare Krishna) and he explained to me that traditional Indian music tends to be largely programmatic, setting a scene, often historical or religious. I looked through a lot of Indian history, and the scene I aimed to recreate with this piece was the Maurya Emperor Ashoka's last battle before he converted to the non violent path of Buddhism. It is said that this battle left over 100,000 dead (a large number indeed in Feudal East India), and it was the terrible slaughter of this night that led him to Buddhism. I thought this would be an interesting image to represent, blood and majesty intermingled, a sense of peace and violence, a moment of inevitable destiny. The brutality of dubstep would only help reflect the crashing violence of the battlefield against a thunderous sky.
A final note on the Indian classical elements: In a raag there is a specific structure to follow, and I kept to that largely (well, as close as I could whilst remaining true to the electronic elements). There are four sections in this: the Alap, a slow, largely improvised section, and is quickly followed by the Gat in which the same arrangement is accompanied by the tabla (although I used a bass drum), and then in the Jhala it all kicks off, with the tabla coming into full play (drop) before winding back down through the jhala section.
Goa trance: I listened to groups such as Shpongle and Miranda, but most of all I listened to NG's own Hopeku (specifically the psytrance stuff he does off the website). I loved Morning Moon in particular, the way a mist of psychedelic elements were sidechain compressed against a throbbing bass drum, so I thought I couldn't do India's culture justice without having a section in which these Goa elements came to the fore.