Decolonoize Tue, 2020-12-01 22:20

The “Decolonoize” session by Aniruddha Das for SOAS Radio is a brief “sonic essay” touching upon the connections between experimental sound, culture and politics:

We are closer to experimental sound than we realise. It’s present in film soundtracks, adverts, radio shows, games shows and video games. But it’s less acceptable, and often grates, when heard in isolation. Without a doubt, its various practices are often shrouded in mystery, and its discussion frequently in a language that is overly academic and inaccessible. “Noise” is embedded within electronic dance music, but through the processes of sampling and sequencing, is mostly organised rhythmically. Dub, drum ’n’ bass and techno just wouldn’t elicit the same (physical and cerebral) responses without it.

I’ve selected a choice of tracks showcasing electronic rhythm and noise, whereby non-metric tracks are juxtaposed with rhythmic ones to emphasise the proximity of “noise” to the dance floor.

While in general I’d love to see all kinds of experimental sounds more widely listened to, I’m particularly keen to engage people of colour and black people, both as audience and as practitioners themselves. To that end, all the tracks presented in this session have been created by, or involve artists from those communities.

“Decolonoize” can have many connotations which will reveal themselves the more I / we examine and play with that phrase. For the moment, I will point out that musical parameters are not culturally specific, nor are the building blocks of sound. Their measurements in “hertz” and “decibels,” for instance, are as much the intellectual property of “Africans” and “Asians” as they are of “Europeans” and “Americans.” Experimental electronic expression is as such, no less a part of my cultural heritage and practice, than for example, folk music or dub. “Decolonoize” therefore, is as much a continuation of the to challenging of those stereotypes, but more in relation to our involvement with “industrial” music.

Black people and people of colour, can, as much as anyone else, imbue their tones and frequencies with ‘political intent’ and ‘political sentiment,’ both consciously and unconsciously, translating experiences or thoughts about the world by manipulating parameters that intensify the sound in particular ways. I have always gravitated towards those thus engaged, rather than artists merely involved in academic or aesthetic exercise. I also veer towards those espousing a more robust, visceral sound. The session increases in intensity as it proceeds, and by the end, is positively seething, the whole composition a commentary on the world in 2020, and the various questions that have arisen.

Having been a dub musician and producer for the good part of 35 years, I haven’t suddenly ‘forgotten my roots,’ as some may perceive. I am merely climbing the tree and exploring the branches. In fact, my involvement with ‘experimental music’ pre-dates my engagement with ‘dub.’ This session is dedicated to those who have inspired me in my current journey: people like Dubmorphology, Yao Bobby and Simon Grab, Hallucinator, Evicshen, TRNSGNDR/VHS and Draama. It is homage too, to the Low Pass Filter (LPF), which, when combined with the anger and energy generated by distortion pedals, brings a certain focus and funkiness to the noise. As we experiment, this is helping to re-calibrate the frequency range of “noise music,” drawing it towards the bottom, as we try to manifest “Black Noise” as an actual physical sound.


DHANGSHA – “Yewa” (Dhangsha)

DSPSSSSD – “The Stench Of Entitlement” (Exit Wounds)

SIMON GRAB & YAO BOBBY – “Milawoe” (Diamonds EP)

EVICSHEN – “Current Affair” (Hair Birth)

DUBMORPHOLOGY  “The Conversation T3” (The Conversation)

HALLUCINATOR  –  “Black Angel” (Landlocked)

CHURULIAN – “Acquaintance” (Discarded Frequencies)

BLACK BOX THEORY – “textures and a painting i made with blood” (Session 1)

HAVID JAVED – “Bird Stew”

SAINT ABDULLAH – “Dialogue Between Wind and Tin” (IN GOD’S IMAGE)

DRAAMA – “Lockdown Emergency State” (Gangs Of New Delhi)

TRNSGNDR/VHS – “Geography” (Condominium EP)

DSPSSSSD – “Decolonoize” (Decolonoize)