Various Artists - The NID Tapes: Electronic Music from India 1969-1972

A stunning collection of early Indian electronic music, uncovered at the archives of the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad.
Recorded between 1969-1972 the compilation chronicles electronic works from the previously unknown Indian composers Gita Sarabhai, I.S. Mathur, Atul Desai, S.C. Shama and Jinraj Joshipura who worked at the nation’s first electronic music studio founded at the NID during the utopian years following India’s independence - a radical period of visionary experimentation and artistic freethought.

The studio was founded with support from the New York composer David Tudor who personally set up a Moog modular system and tape machine in the autumn of 1969, and The NID Tapes also includes an excerpt from Tudor’s work discovered amongst the collection of tapes. The release developed from a long-term research project by the British artist and electronic musician Paul Purgas who travelled to Ahmedabad over many years to explore the origins of electronic music in India. This resulted in the discovery of the electronic music archive at the NID and its eventual restoration and digitising, which featured in the acclaimed BBC radio documentary Electronic India.

The compilation presents excerpts from the 27 reels of archive tape spanning the three years of the studio's operational history, showcasing work from the pioneering electronic composers which included the musician and poet Atul Desai, NID teachers and technicians I.S. Mathur and S.C. Shama, Gita Sarabhai who had previously studied with John Cage in New York in the 1940's and the young architecture student Jinraj Joshipura who was just 19 years old at the time of first composing with the Moog synthesiser. The audio showcases their various visions for electronic music production, exploring analogue synthesis, tape collages, voice experiments and field recordings revealing a meeting point of Western and Indian avant-garde traditions, and offering a unique insight into South Asia’s post-colonial sonic imaginary. The vinyl and digital is a collaborative release by Strange Attractor Press and The state51 Conspiracy and has been mastered by Hari Shankar Kishore (HVAD) with design for the release and a vinyl etching created by Shreya Aurora a recent graduate from the National Institute of Design.

S.C. Sharma - After the War
Atul Desai - Compositions
S.C. Sharma - Dance Music I
Gita Sarabhai - Gitaben's Composition I
David Tudor - Tape Feedback with Moog
Jinraj Joshipura - Space Liner 2001 I

S.C. Sharma - Electronic Sounds Created on Moog I
S.C. Sharma - Dance Music II
I.S. Mathur - My Birds
I.S. Mathur - Moogsical Forms
Gita Sarabhai - Gitaben's Composition II
I.S. Mathur - Once I Played a Tanpura

S.C. Sharma - Electronic Sounds Created on Moog II
Atul Desai - Recordings for Osaka Expo 70
S.C. Sharma - Wind & Bubbles
S.C. Sharma - Dance Music III
Jinraj Joshipura - Space Liner 2001 II
I.S. Mathur - Shadows of the Show
I.S. Mathur - Soundtrack of Shadow Play

Release Info

Release Date: 6th October 2023
Format: 2LP
Label: The state51 Conspiracy

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