Enter Outtallectuals to rock 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.