Tesserae – Nakul Krishnamurthy

“The real world appears in the image as it were between parentheses” - Emmanuel Levinas

Tesserae interprets Indian Classical music at the intersection and interstices of cultures to imagine a trans-cultural musical space that reflects the contemporary migratory world. It draws from Western Classical music, Western experimental music tradition, and electronic music making techniques to imagine new possibilities for Indian Classical music, and creates a liminal space where such categories enter into a conversation with themselves and each other to be constantly challenged, negotiated with, modified, and reinscribed with new meanings. The works are mosaics of generative patterns where numerous recorded vocal phrases intersect and glide over one another to form colourful images of a multidimensional musical space unbounded by traditional, cultural, geographical, or categorical borders.

Anudhatthamudhatthassvaritham is a compound word formed from Anudhattham, Udhattham, and Svaritham, the three notes from which Indian Classical music is believed to have originated. Oscillators generate new notes and sounds from these originary notes by modulating each other in a partially controlled environment, which in turn feed into an artistic imagination leading to their assembly into the Carnatic raga Sindhubhairavi. The artistic and electronic interpretations are in conversation with each other throughout the process of conception, construction, and production to fashion hybrid formations that reimagine and renew the past in a space of cultural hybridity.

The vocal phrases that constitute Ten Thousand Dancing Shivas and the singing style can neither be conveniently classified as Hindustani nor Carnatic. However, as in the artforms, gamakas, or the movements between notes, become as important as the notes themselves to form hybrid entities that are in perpetual motion through pitch-space and time. These entities gradually begin to intersect and glide over one another in a partially controlled chance-based environment where harmonies are no longer fixed or stable, but fluid and malleable. The intersecting vocal phrases and the harmonies they form conjure a musical space that reflects the intimacy of cultures in the contemporary migratory world and celebrates the possibilities afforded by cultural hybridity in enriching our traditions and modes of thought.

All vocals by Nakul Krishnamurthy.

Track 1 uses Tom Mudd's Gutter Synth.
Vocals in track 2 recorded at Crescendo Studios, Palakkad.
Special thanks to: Jimmy Bunch, Alasdair Campbell, Santhosh Chirackal, Fayez Fazil, Mark Fell, Adam Greig, Tom Knapp, Namita Krishnamurthy, Oliver Pitt, Rohini Rajan, Rian Treanor, and Jeremy Woodruff.
Artwork design & mastering by Oliver Barrett

1 - Anudhatthamudhatthassvaritham [18:14]
2 - Ten Thousand Dancing Shivas [19:54]

Nakul Krishnamurthy

Nakul Krishnamurthy is an Indian artist who works with Indian Classical music and explores new ways of conceiving it at the intersection of Western Classical, experimental and electronic music traditions. Using procedural approaches to composition and electronic music making techniques, his work experiments with and attempts to reconfigure the structural foundations of Carnatic and Hindustani music to generate new interpretations of the artforms. His work has been performed at various venues and festivals including Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan; No Bounds Festival, Sheffield; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto; Serralves em Festa, Porto; Café Oto, London; Harrington Art Gallery, Kolkata; KM Music Conservatory, Chennai; and Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow. He lives in Glasgow and is currently pursuing his doctoral studies at the University of Edinburgh.