"I never want my stuff played in yoga studios," says Atlanta-based DJ/producer Saurabh Bose, aka Sharaab, who takes ethnoclash a step further in his second CD, Evolution. Known for blending classical Indian instrumentation with modern electronic music, Sharaab has been pioneering the Asian Massive movement since he began DJing in Atlanta more than a decade ago. But he doesn't make music for meditation's sake.
"There's nothing wrong with that music. It's just that I want active listeners, people who [listen to] my music and actually feel it on a deep level instead of just background stuff."
His compositions are at once hypnotic and energetic, as he dances between his Indian heritage and Western upbringing to create a fluid mix of the best from both worlds.
"It's hard for me to separate an 808 [drum] from like a tabla break. I grew up with both," says Sharaab, who was raised on an eclectic diet of MTV and music his parents brought back from return trips to India. "I'm all about cultural clashes and cultural collaborations."
You can hear it plainly as he breaks the language barrier on Evolution with the help of vocalist Alex Rambaud of local punk group Black Mona Lisa, who contributes on five songs. The combo works like a Reese's on "Awakening," where Rambaud delivers vocals with a reggae-tinged rhythm.
"I wanted to incorporate English vocals more because I just wanted to expand the idea of what this type of music should be," says Sharaab, who debuted in 2004 with Infusion. "I wanted it to be more understandable by everybody." He almost forces the point on the aptly titled "Incomplete," where Rambaud's slightly off-key singing sounds like a tentative tourist in a foreign land.
Even as a DJ, who regularly hops planes to NYC, L.A. and San Francisco, Sharaab spins to expand listeners' horizons. "I like to educate them on new stuff," he says. Yet he's decidedly old-school. Unlike most producers who dabble in electronica, Sharaab prefers analog to digital. It lends a warmth to his spacious compositions when blended with the live instrumentation he traveled to India to record.
Despite his best intentions, he doesn't totally escape the meditative muse. In fact, Sharaab's best tracks, such as "Poison," contain echoing samples of Indian vocals laid atop tabla drums and hyperkinetic synth beats. It's an intoxicating aural workout – minus the yoga cliché.
Sharaab's CD-release party takes place at Bazzaar. 10 p.m. Thurs., Nov. 29. 654 Peachtree St. 404-885-7505. Call for price.
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