Robots That Burn You Up

Gods Robots — the new kids of the Indian underground — adds Carnatic music to blues and electronica sounds

Written by Suanshu Khurana | Published:July 3, 2013 5:00 am

Of all the new music offerings on YouTube,Burn it up by Gods Robots is the one least likely to be skipped by people searching for new sounds in the virtual world. For one,Gods Robots are not robots. Two,this group — the latest entrant in the Indian underground — isn’t singing about God.

Burn it up blows one’s mind from the opening notes,and keeps getting better. The song’s only appeal isn’t that it uses heavy doses of hip hop,dubstep and musician Janaka Atugoda’s bass heavy rhythms with singer Shridevi Keshavan’s voice — something which moves effortlessly between Carnatic classical and bluesy western notes. Burn it up,a track that roughly falls under the category of electro-pop,was created entirely in the virtual world. Atugoda is a composer and musician based out of San Francisco while Keshavan lives in Mumbai,and the two created this track without meeting each other.

“Janaka heard me on one of the CDs he took back from India from a friend. After he contacted me,he and I were just always wired. So much so that we were talking more to each other than to people around us,” says Keshavan,who grew up in a South Indian family where Carnatic music happened by default. Atugoda grew up with a host of influences as he travelled around the world with his diplomat father. “Every place threw up new sounds and I absorbed them,” he says.

After exchanging numerous webfiles,emails,skype conversations,the two roped in US-based sarod player Alam Khan and Delhi-based sarangiya Sohail Yusuf Khan to create a cohesive blend.

The outfit has recently released

its album titled Gods Robots (Sony Music). Comprising nine tracks,

each song,according to Keshavan,is a story being told. “There is some sort of story that propels the song,” says

Keshavan,who adds that Burn it up,

an angsty track,was a result of the struggle the band had to go through to bring Atugoda to India and put everything in place.

The album also includes Stay— a song with a sarod prelude,that layers Keshavan’s enchanting Carnatic classical vocals with the electronic sound.

“When we began performing in India,no one was doing our kind of thing. It was too fresh and people loved it. With the album out we hope to get more gigs,” says Janaka.

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