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    Karthick Iyer Live is ready with its début album and a new genre of fusion

    ATTempting to create your own genre of music is fraught with anxiety, excitement and a whole lot of self-questioning. It’s been no different for Karthick Iyer, the violinist and vocalist behind the band Karthick Iyer Live. Ahead of the launch of their debut six-song album titled IndoSoul: Looking Within to Look Beyond, the 29-year-old says it is not mere fusion music. “IndoSoul, the genre that we are pioneering, has an Indian aspect that harks back to our ancient roots. But like all of us today—straddling both East and West—it also embraces western sounds,” begins Iyer, explaining that unlike much of the fusion that you hear today, the compositions are not “just melodies followed by a bunch of solos. This genre is like a bridge, seamlessly connecting Carnatic with rock, pop, progressive, metal and the like.”
    Genres unite
    Though he’s been playing the violin since he was eight, the electrical engineer-turned musician says he’s never felt completely happy being a traditional Carnatic musician. “My quest was always to play my music along with the music I listen to,” says the city based composer, explaining how the five-member band evolved two years ago. While each member—Vikram Vivekanand on guitar, Naveen Napier on bass, Sumesh Narayan on mridangam and Ramkumar Kanakarajan on drums—brings their individual expertise, they have a global sensibility, too. “We’ve defined a certain form, which is more song-like, for the genre. Like Boundless, which brings together raaga Shanmukhapriya with metal and where we’ve employed the korappu technique (a Carnatic musical face-off) to bring all the different sounds together,” he says. The mostly instrumental album—the sole vocal track is At The Theatres, a bilingual take on relationships, sung by Iyer—also includes tracks like A Clown’s Junket (“which describes my journey so far”) and Midair “a fun piece, with a 70s rock sound, that I conceptualised when on my honeymoon, flying from Auckland to Queenstown,” he smiles.
    Miles to go
    Listing violinist and composer L Shankar as his idol, Iyer says they’ve only begun experimenting with IndoSoul. “There is a  huge ocean of new sound out there to explore. For our second album (which they plan to start post the album launch) we will be collaborating with a DJ and bringing in electronica,” says the musician who also works in movies—he composed a track for Vir Das’ flick Amit Sahni Ki List last year, besides being part of hit tracks like 36 Vayadhinile’s Rasathi and Dandanakka from Romeo Juliet.
    On June 13, at the Museum Theatre, at 7 pm. Details: karthickiyer.com
    ttempting to create your own genre of music is fraught with anxiety, excitement and a whole lot of self-questioning. It’s been no different for Karthick Iyer, the violinist and vocalist behind the band Karthick Iyer Live. Ahead of the launch of their debut six-song album titled IndoSoul: Looking Within to Look Beyond, the 29-year-old says it is not mere fusion music. “IndoSoul, the genre that we are pioneering, has an Indian aspect that harks back to our ancient roots. But like all of us today—straddling both East and West—it also embraces western sounds,” begins Iyer, explaining that unlike much of the fusion that you hear today, the compositions are not “just melodies followed by a bunch of solos. This genre is like a bridge, seamlessly connecting Carnatic with rock, pop, progressive, metal and the like.”
    Genres unite
    Though he’s been playing the violin since he was eight, the electrical engineer-turned musician says he’s never felt completely happy being a traditional Carnatic musician. “My quest was always to play my music along with the music I listen to,” says the city based composer, explaining how the five-member band evolved two years ago. While each member—Vikram Vivekanand on guitar, Naveen Napier on bass, Sumesh Narayan on mridangam and Ramkumar Kanakarajan on drums—brings their individual expertise, they have a global sensibility, too. “We’ve defined a certain form, which is more song-like, for the genre. Like Boundless, which brings together raaga Shanmukhapriya with metal and where we’ve employed the korappu technique (a Carnatic musical face-off) to bring all the different sounds together,” he says. The mostly instrumental album—the sole vocal track is At The Theatres, a bilingual take on relationships, sung by Iyer—also includes tracks like A Clown’s Junket (“which describes my journey so far”) and Midair “a fun piece, with a 70s rock sound, that I conceptualised when on my honeymoon, flying from Auckland to Queenstown,” he smiles.
    Miles to go
    Listing violinist and composer L Shankar as his idol, Iyer says they’ve only begun experimenting with IndoSoul. “There is a  huge ocean of new sound out there to explore. For our second album (which they plan to start post the album launch) we will be collaborating with a DJ and bringing in electronica,” says the musician who also works in movies—he composed a track for Vir Das’ flick Amit Sahni Ki List last year, besides being part of hit tracks like 36 Vayadhinile’s Rasathi and Dandanakka from Romeo Juliet.
    On June 13, at the Museum Theatre, at 7 pm. Details: karthickiyer.com
    —Surya Praphulla Kumar

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