Papon
[Freefalling]
[Full Circle
[Kya Bana Diya]

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We first featured Papon on the first CD-gazette of The IDEA, as part of the band "New Delhi". Multi-tracking great music out of a computer-based studio at the time, the band eventually went down without ever playing a live show,.. but did get a sort of album-deal from featuring in The IDEA #1 (repeated in #3). That happened through Vineet Singh Hukmana, who heard them on the gazette, got in touch and signed them on for a fascinating project. That involved getting the band together with others from around the country to a resort in Bangalore, where each band and individual artiste laid down a track for a joint album due for release soon, but already playing on the Indigo Radio station of the Worldspace satellite system. Vineet was Head Honcho at "BPL-Oye!" and the nascent "Indigo Radio" at the time, and is now #2 with Saatchi & Saatchi in India. But he too is quite a bit of a digital musician, composer and singer in his spare time, recently releasing an album of cutting-edge Punjabi music together with his brother as the "Balle-Balle Boys".

Since then, Papon has in turn moved on to a solo-career as a musician-composer, singer and recording-studio operator, shuttling about the country on exciting advertising, corporate and television assignments when not cocooned in his studio (Purple Harmoniks) slogging it out on others. Here's what he has to say for himself today:

"Music, for me, has always been a part of life, more so, probably because I grew up in an environment where music encompassed the entire sphere of life. Both my parents are traditional folk musicians of the northeastern Indian state of Assam and the days of my childhood started with waking up to the strains of my father's voice doing his riwaz to the accompaniment of a tanpura. During the early years of my life, my father, who is an established musician in his own right, introduced me to the different types of traditional Assamese music. My mother who had trained in Indian classical music made me go through formal training in Hindustani Classical music. But the more exciting prospects of playing a game of cricket with friends or other exciting discoveries of childhood refrained me from pursuing it further.

"Both of my parents played an instrumental role in acquainting me with the intricacies of sur, taal and lay, three important ingredients of music, without which, I feel, any musical composition would be incongruous. I feel that those few years of training in classical vocals and tabla helped me a lot to hone my skills in voice modulation and to have a better understanding of Indian rhythms and beats. Looking back now, I feel that the musical environment where I grew up was the right blend; a mix of Indian classical music and Assamese traditional music. Assamese folk music has a strange pentatonic feel about it, and this characteristic can be compared with other forms of pentatonic music like blues. I feel that my childhood had a significant impact on my life as a musician. With my father's guidance, I had an extensive association with Assamese traditional music during the early years of my life.

"It was a fine June morning in 1994 when I packed my bags in Guwahati and hopped on a train to New Delhi, with dreams of becoming an architect. But I guess destiny had other plans in store for me as those dreams could not be fulfilled and I decided to study English literature instead. During the years in college, music, for me, continued to always be a part of life, and that's when I really started the process of relating to other kinds of music. Soon I started experimenting with different rhythms and different melodies. Strumming a guitar or fooling around with the synthesizer, I began to realise that I could make better music than buildings.

"The acquaintance with music created by the likes of Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Phish, Miles Davis, Peter Gabriel and Sting further fuelled my imagination to create music which would incorporate the traits of folk, Indian classical and new-age electronic sounds too. The age of high technology and new gadgets has allured me more towards the sounds of new age music. The beep and cackle of a modem connecting to the internet has become a sound we associate ourselves with everyday. A sound which would have perhaps sounded alien to people half a century ago. Indeed, the sound dictionary has become larger today than it was a few decades ago and this has resulted in the emergence of a host of new sounds, sounds which have been incorporated by many new-age musicians. Several new-age musicians who have experimented with different sounds and melodies derived from traditional music from across the world have been a source of great inspiration for me. Nitin Sawhney, whose music is a unique integration of electronic sounds and traditional Indian tunes, is perhaps one of my favourite new-age musicians.

"My first foray into making music started off with my Roland XP-80 and a friend's computer. Making music with the help of a computer and software specially designed to edit and mix compositions was a unique experience. It took me a while to figure out how the hi-tech gizmos and the software work but gradually I started a home recording setup. The setup I work on now is a decent one and it's been only six months since I got everything together. I have a funky sound card (a 'Pulsar' by Creameware), a 950 mhz AMD chip, 256mb RAM and an ASUS A7 pro motherboard with a VIA chipset on it. I use Cubase VST for multi-track recording and sequencing and now I'm starting off with Nuendo. I had worked on Cakewalk Pro Audio for a couple of years and this experience helped me a lot in figuring out other types of recording and sequencing software. The other audio software I use includes Soundforge 5.0, Acid pro, Orion, Fruity Loop, T-Racks (a mastering software), etc.

"Multi-track digital recording has indeed ushered in a new revolution to the concept of recording and creating music. It has been a tremendous benefit for young and aspiring musicians as well as hardcore pros. Now anybody into music wanting to try a hand at composing and recording original music can do it with just a little bit of hard work. There are so many like me who cannot afford a recording course abroad, and India doesn't have any good schools for providing professional courses in sound engineering. But many sound-recordists in India have become seasoned sound engineers on their own, learning and mastering processes on the job. It takes awhile but I guess it's a better way to learn and then further discover the technical intricacies involved in the process of sound recording. It obviously also helps if one can observe a pro at work for a while.

"Ultimately, what is essential is a keen interest, and a basic understanding of sound.
My work currently involves making jingles for commercials, composing, arranging and recording music for other musicians, composing background scores for television programmes and documentaries.

"The three tracks I have presented on this CD are some of the first experiments with my new home-recording setup......hope you like them."

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Papon (Angaraag)
Composer, Singer & Musician
79-H, Pocket ­ 4
Mayur Vihar, Phase ­ 1
New Delhi - 110 091 (India)

Tel: (91-11) 271 3971