En­ter Out­tal­lec­tu­als to rock Thim­phu

Bhutan Times - - Home - Staff Re­porter/ Thim­phu

Af­ter more than dozens of shows in the United King­dom and Nepal, Out­tal­lec­tu­als, a hy­brid art brand that was formed in 2011, will have a sim­i­lar demon­stra­tion for the first time ever in Bhutan dur­ing the first an­nual Bhutan In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val (BhIF) from Fe­bru­ary 14-23 this year.

In what BhIF or­ga­niz­ers de­scribe as some­thing unique in style and ap­proach, Out­tal­lec­tu­als’ tent in the Cen­te­nary Park will host a plethora of work­shops, chilled DJ ses­sions, mo­ments of eclec­tic dance tunes, and art to feed the soul.

Aryan Ashoori, pop­u­larly known as Bax­tak and the founder of Out­tal­lec­tu­als who is al­ready in the coun­try, is ec­static about their show here in Thim­phu. “This is fun. It’s also a kind of unique ex­pe­ri­ence. For the first time, artists from around the world would be con­gre­gat­ing here,” he said.

“It [per­form­ing in Bhutan] is ab­so­lutely sur­real. I am sure all the other guys are say­ing that they can’t be­lieve they will be per­form­ing here. Even I couldn’t be­lieve un­til I was here,” he added.

Aryan Ashoori, an elec­tronic pro­ducer/DJ known for mak­ing songs in any form from noise, dub, down­tempo, elec­tron­ica and bass mu­sic, de­scribes Bhutan as a per­fect place for Out­tal­lec­tu­als given the coun­try’s em­pha­sis on tra­di­tions and cul­ture.

“In the UK mu­sic is con­stantly pushed for­ward, while tra­di­tional in­stru­ments are forgotten. So much em­pha­sis is on mov­ing for­ward that the roots are forgotten. Here in Bhutan, the roots are still very much in­tact. And in or­der to take it for­ward, you still have to be at­tached to th­ese roots,” he ex­plains.

Out­tal­lec­tu­als, mean­while, fo­cuses on the con­cept of cross-dis­ci­plinary fu­sion; mainly spe­cial­iz­ing in in­no­va­tive mu­sic, spir­i­tual art and mod­ern no­madic cul­ture. Their projects span from the Out­tal­lec­tu­als net-la­bel, mu­sic blog, fo­rum, photography and il­lus­tra­tion gallery, one-off col­lab­o­ra­tions (comic, pre­sen­ta­tion, etc) and live mu­sic events. As a record la­bel, Out­tal­lec­tu­als have had more than 15 re­leases and dozens of shows in the UK and Nepal.

Out­tal­lec­tu­als, Aryan Ashoori said, was started in UK by a group of mu­si­cian friends who were from Iran and Lon­don. “Now we have artists from Canada and US as well,” he said, adding that they have now more than 20 dif­fer­ent mu­si­cians as con­tribut­ing mem­bers and 10 con­tribut­ing vis­ual artists.

Mean­while, four mu­si­cians from Out­tal­lec­tu­als will be here in the coun­try for the fes­ti­val. Renowned mu­si­cians Amin Payne, Bwoy De Bha­jan and Cul­ti­va­tion will be here in Thim­phu; bring­ing their orig­i­nal and live DJ sets in­clud­ing world fu­sion elec­tronic and weird ex­per­i­men­tal elec­tronic mu­sic and reg­gae roots to Bhutan.

Hail­ing from New Zealand and a vet­eran in Australia’s in­stru­men­tal hip-hop scene, Amin Payne’s mu­sic spans many gen­res of mu­sic, from soul, fu­ture funk and hip-hop to deep house and World Mu­sic fu­sion. He has also built a pro­lific rep­u­ta­tion as a pro­ducer, live artist and dar­ing ex­per­i­menter of sounds.

Sim­i­larly, Bwoy De Bha­jan, 20, is a crit­i­cally ac­claimed mu­si­cian who was nom­i­nated in 2014 for the Dan­ish mu­sic crit­ics’ award Step­pul­ven. The gen­res he cov­ers range from re­ally sooth­ing am­bi­ent to trip-hop, IDM, dub, drum and bass with much fo­cus on na­ture field record­ings.

Nepalese Reg­gae Roots and Dub artist Cul­ti­va­tion, mean­while, played as the singer/gui­tarist for Nepali reg­gae band Land Lock Roots from 2011- 2013, un­til the solo Cul­ti­va­tion project was cre­ated. He has re­leased a hand­ful of sin­gles and re­leases with Out­tal­lec­tu­als net-la­bel, an in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tive EP, and shared the stage with In­dia’s Delhi Sul­tanate at Dance­mandu Fes­ti­val 2013 as well as Reg­gae Ra­jahs and Sym­biz Sound on other oc­ca­sions.

“Fus­ing world mu­sic with elec­tronic mu­sic by tak­ing el­e­ments of dif­fer­ent coun­tries, we will help bring back popular mu­sic. On this theme of bring­ing back tra­di­tional mu­sic, we are set­ting col­lab­o­ra­tion with Bhutanese mu­si­cians,” Aryan Ashoori said. “Our plan is to have live im­pro­vi­sa­tion and have an al­bum recorded of this col­lab­o­ra­tion. We are hope­ful of tak­ing some­thing to our stu­dio.”

On the vis­ual as­pects, ac­cord­ing to Aryan Ashoori, there will be some choreographed dances, be­sides the Out­tal­lec­tu­als’ artists play­ing in a few club shows in Viva City and a few talks on mu­sic pro­duc­tion.

“I think some of our mu­sic group mem­bers will be sur­prised upon reach­ing here. But I think we will be able to gen­er­ate quite a few smiles; I hope so at least,” he added.

BhIF, mean­while, is a brand new col­lab­o­ra­tive arts fes­ti­val in Bhutan. It’s a non-profit an­nual event – work­ing to build a new ve­hi­cle for the on­go­ing fund­ing of cre­ative arts in Bhutan.

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