THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Navath Rahin believes in looking back to move forward. The 25-year-old space designer, who also runs an indie record label called Kekao, is hoping to showcase the artistic aspects of the misunderstood genre: electronic music. The youngster is leaning on the legitimate aura of Kochi Muziris Biennale (KMB), which has been instrumental in bringing visibility to alternative art among Keralites, by tying up with them through the Music of Muziris programme.
In a revivalistic attempt to shed light on the origins of this sound—which can be traced back to the late ’70s when pioneering DJs perfected the art of playing vinyl records on turntables—Kekao will transform the once-dilapidated biennale site, MAP Project Space, into a thundering cathedral of basslines.
“The first electronic music gatherings were held in cities like Chicago within abandoned warehouses, hence the term ‘house-music’. It was where like-minded people from all walks of life would congregate and groove to the tales of rhythm spun by DJs,” states Navath, elaborating, “So, it only makes sense to host a warehouse gig of our own as we try to adopt the old school culture. The venue located on Bazaar Road is known to locals as the Dutch Warehouse and dates back to a time when colonialists ruled Kochi.” Kekao’s upcoming event in the city features underground Italian luminaries Nothus & Delikwe and Dona aka DJ Plant Texture alongside Kochi’s own Stalvart John.
Against the grain
The Malayalam word ‘kekao’ roughly translates to ‘can you hear?’, which is apt since the brand is trying to reconnect Kochiites with unadulterated sub-genres of electronic music. From ambient and disco to jungle and techno, they offer something that is a far cry from what passes off as dance music in today’s mainstream clubbing scene.
To accomplish this, they’ve flown in Stalvart, who’s returning to his hometown after turning into a mainstay in Bengaluru’s nightlife circuit and performing at major festivals like Magnetic Fields. Also worth noting is how the aforementioned foreign artistes, including veteran composer Dona Basile who’s signed to a Matera-based imprint called XCPT, will perform on analog turntables. “Much like the KMB itself, Kekao’s all about experimentation and unconventional paths. The idea is to inspire people by transporting them back to dance music culture’s ‘unseen and unheard’ beginnings,” concludes Navath.
On January 19.
At MAP Project Space.