Ask a sane viewer with good taste, what they associate with MTV and, in all probability, their answer will be inane shows like Splitsvilla and Roadies, where juvenile, attention-seeking characters participate. With an image like that and a target audience with the intelligence quotient of a pigeon and the attention-span of a goldfish, Sound Trippin’, the channel’s latest offering, offers a pleasant jolt to the senses.
A prime example of a world-class show with a simple-yet-unique concept and brilliant execution sans the tiring drama, the show works on a simple, yet successful idea. Music director and sound junkie Sneha Khanwalkar travels to remote parts of the country with a backpack and simple equipment to record sounds that capture the idiosyncrasies of a place and its people and then transforms them to music.
The first episode that aired on Saturday showcased the eccentricities of Punjab. The first stop, sure to provide unique sounds, was the scene of the Rural Olympics at Kila Raipur where competitors of all ages (including senior citizen sardars) take part in the adrenaline-rushing races to more absurd competitions like lifting bicycles with their mouths.
The sounds captured here ranged from the Punjabi race commentary to the grunts of the boulder-lifters and the roar of a royal Enfield engine.
Next up was a cricket bat factory in Jalandhar, where Khanwalkar captured the sound of the factory siren to the loud machines and the seasoning of a bat with a leather ball.
She then went on a hunt for the rustic voice of sisters Jyoti and Sultana, the fifth generation of a family of musicians, who she worked with during the composition of the song Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye. They were found living in a quaint house. A recording studio was set up in their minimalist bedroom and the performance that the two young girls delivered was extraordinary, to put it mildly.
To add to that were sounds produced on traditional instruments like the tumbi, dhol and damru by local artistes. The final song, a mix of machine sounds, grunts, sports commentary, folk instruments and rustic voices mixed with dub step was inspiring. The superlative editing and camerawork and their seamless integration deserves special mention because they make the show a visual treat unlike anything else offered on the channel.
Watch Sound Trippin’ to ensure that creative heads of channels like MTV, who have made a habit of coming up with an endless supply of mindless, melodramatic content are encouraged to finally deliver intelligent, and truly entertaining shows.