THE REVIVAL OF ’90S ASIAN UNDERGROUND CLUB SCENE: DJ ISURU ON “MISHTI DANCE”

by Ananya Wilson-Bhattacharya

The alternative British Asian pop genre, Asian Underground, held a significant place back in the early-mid ‘90s as a uniquely transgressive genre combining Indian classical instrumentation, jazz, the contemporary sounds of dub, drum ‘n’ bass and jungle, interspersed with crooning Bollywood-style vocals. The genre blew up and enjoyed mainstream popularity in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, exerting significant influence on Western hip hop, R&B and urban music at the time. DJ Isuru Perera, better known simply as DJ Isuru, is one of the leading figures in today’s Asian Underground revival, having collaborated with a range of DJs and performers aspiring to reintroduce this strand of ‘90s Dance music to a younger generation. He is also a regular presenter on SOAS radio, where he hosts various (mainly British Asian) musicians from different eras, playing their music with accompanying track-by-track analysis. 

I caught up with Isuru to discuss Asian Underground history and his latest initiative, ‘Mishti Dance’, a series of evening events held in East London. Isuru neatly articulates its ethos as ‘a return to the experimentation of the Asian Underground in the face of commercial clubbing’. The format of Mishti Dance comprises a community-based arts and performance space featuring both poets and DJs, in a radical defiance of the rigid, distinct cultural categorisation of arts events as either high arts- or club music-based.

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SAM FENDER – REVIVING RADICAL POLITICS WITHIN INDIE MUSIC

by Ananya Wilson-Bhattacharya

tw: mentions of suicide

In recent years, the indie-rock revival has gained traction across the UK, spurning artists such as Circa Waves, The Magic Gang, Sea Girls and countless other bands and solo artists with catchy, accessible lyrics and melodies against guitar-heavy backgrounds. I will fully admit to being an indie fan at heart; these artists generally make up a large proportion of my ‘heavy rotation’ on Spotify at any given moment. But the genre can’t always be credited with much lyrical originality, or indeed, with much engagement with the world beyond the singers’ own personal dilemmas and often relentless self-deprecation.

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RAGS TO RICHES – A BUSKER’S TALE

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by Tom McGhie

Three o’clock in the morning. You’re lying in a sleeping bag under a workbench in a dark room surrounded by tools and sawdust with a ragged blanket warding off the elements that pour in through the window which doesn’t properly close. The nighttime gale weaves its way into the building, embraces your exposed limbs and extremities and you shudder your brain back into the realm of sleep.

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STORY AND SONG – AN INTERVIEW WITH SKINNY LISTER

By Rowan Gavin

Skinny Lister play one hell of a live show. In fact, so raucous and rousing are the London six-piece folk outfit’s performances, I’ve yet to encounter any journalism about them that doesn’t start by stating that fact – and I see no reason to change that here. With guitar and accordion and their ever-present flagon of rum, they set the Norwich Arts Centre a-jumping last Friday night, just as they did the Waterfront on their last visit to Noz in late 2017. This time, I was lucky enough to sit down with frontwoman Lorna Thomas in the bar beforehand, to talk all things Skinny.
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FIVE NORWICH BANDS TO WATCH IN 2019

by Rowan Gavin

It’s been a great year for music in East Anglia’s Finest City. If you’re a gig-goer, you’ll no doubt have come across some of the many up-and-coming Norwich and Norfolk musicians breathing new life into the local scene these last few months. Here, in no particular order, I’d like to present five of the local acts that have most impressed, entranced, and inspired me in 2018.Continue Reading

20 BEST RADICAL MUSICAL RELEASES OF 2018

by Chris Jarvis

We return with a round-up of the best radical music from the past year!
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TO BE A FEMALE PERFORMER – ABUSE AND HARASSMENT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

by Tom McGhie

Content warning: sexual harassment, sexual abuse, misogyny

There are few greater feelings than when an artist connects with their audience at a gig, something more than just applause and guitar chords. Most people have, at some point in their lives, attended a gig which has stuck in their memory because of that very exchange between performer and public. This visceral communication is what propels music as one of the most important art forms; it brings people together in an ever-dividing societal sphere.

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