Express press service
A multitude of city sounds – from the resonant call of the azaan to the periodic announcements heard on the Delhi metro – blend seamlessly into music producer Abhishek Sekhri’s (30) latest track Dilli. It therefore brings vivid descriptions of the cityscape into the minds of listeners, taking them back to alleyways they might once have walked through. In this week’s Soundscape, Sukhdev-based artist Vihar talks about the process of making Dilli. Extracts…
Tell us about your musical project ‘Goya’.
‘Goya’, which debuted in 2018, essentially explores sonic possibilities. I move and tell stories using sound as a medium. Most of my music is electronic in nature, but I use the sounds around us. I sample musical instruments and create unique sound palettes. Then I combine it with electronic instruments like the synthesizer. The idea was to put my music [forward] as an artist and differentiate it from the work I do in the studio.
Tell us about Dilli’s pre-production process.
Dilli is actually the result of a collaborative project between MAP [The Museum of Art & Photography] Bangalore and the Berklee College of Music; they came together to select four Indian music producers. I was the runner up from Delhi. Each of us had to create a track based on the sounds of our city. The concept behind this [Dilli], for me, it was that I wanted to highlight the forgotten parts of Delhi and its secular nature. Basically things that make Delhi what it is. One of the things you’re going to hear in the song is the sound of oars in Yamuna, emphasizing that there’s a river that runs through the town but we barely remember it.
I still identify Delhi with Bangla Sahib and Jama Masjid, so I recorded sounds from there. I also went to Chandni Chowk and Hazrat Nizamuddin station. All of these sounds encompass what Delhi means to me. I came back to my studio with all these sounds. No instruments were used. All you hear are city sounds.
Considering Delhi is crowded most of the time, did you face any difficulties while recording sound?
One of the technical challenges was that it was difficult to isolate one sound from another. I wanted to record the sound of a kulfi cart, but since there was a lot of noise in Chandni Chowk, it was difficult to record just that. Another question was: how do I represent Delhi? Delhi is a place that runs so fast it can get frustrating. I don’t walk much in town. I mainly work in my studio. But then, if I think of Delhi, those are probably the things I would like to remember.
Abhishek Sekhri’s ‘Dilli’ is streaming on all major platforms