The industrial revelation

Published: 15 November, 2019 07:00 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

An album launch gig tonight features an artiste playing the unusual genre of industrial music

Imagine you're inside a factory. There's a person slicing wood with a chainsaw in one corner, making a screechy sound in the process. Another man is hammering away at metal, his blows producing a steady clink. There's also a worker drilling a hole into a wall and making a whirring noise with his tool. And a fourth person is unloading boxes; making a thud as he drops each one to the ground. Now, take all those different sounds together and imagine someone making a song out of them. That's how you'd define industrial music, a genre that invokes the sonic atmosphere of the age of machines.

It's also what Mumbai-based Aditya Virmani aka Nivid increasingly turned towards as the guitarist's career progressed more towards the synthesizer and computer softwares. The result is that he's now ready with his first album, Merna, which he'll launch at a gig tonight at a Khar venue. It's a record that's so aggressive that an MMA fighter might as well listen to it before entering the ring. Even the lyrical content is decidedly harsh. Virmani tells us that he actually sat with pen and paper and wrote down a narrative about a character named Agent 2344 before composing the music. This person is someone who's blinded by religious fervour and nationalism. The media has dulled his brain into believing whatever he'd fed with. He's angry. He was lost. But his newfound beliefs have given him a sense of identity, which he now goes about stuffing down other people's throats like a pukka zealot. There's no point in drawing any parallels with only the current political climate, though. Virmani tells us, "If you look at Indian history, you'll constantly find some sect fighting against another. We have witnessed chaos and stupidity in our society for centuries."

Aditya Nandwani

But then things suddenly take a turn in the sixth song of the eight-track Hindi offering. Agent 2344 realises that all his religious fanaticism has turned him into a dunderhead who's nothing more than a pawn being shifted by political chess players at will. The line "dharam ka main pujari" turns into "dharam ko humne maari". A transition takes place, represented by a track that sounds like the background music to a scene of major upheaval, like a king entering his enemy's palace in slow motion after vanquishing him. And in the final song — which is a lot mellower than the rest and has shades of the progressive rock that Virmani used to play before he turned towards industrial music — Agent 2344 accepts that he was being led astray by malevolent forces. "Mazhab ke naam pe mujhko tu baat ta raha hain," he sings on repeat.

Overall, it's a spanking album that hits the listener with a blow as hard as what that MMA fighter would have landed on his opponent once the match started. The genre isn't what you'd regularly expect from the Indian indie circuit. But this launch gig is going to be an out-and-out industrial music party, with video art courtesy Varun Desai aka varundo. Virmani tells us that his set — for which Devasheesh Sharma and Nihar Apte will join him on guitar and bass duties — will be followed by two other acts that have roughly similar styles. One is Hashback Hashish, whose sound has a harsh techno edge. The other is Aditya Nandwana, whose music is more dance-worthy. And make no mistake. The industrial genre, despite all its abrasiveness, is also something you can dance to. Except, don't attempt jazz or ballet. Expect to find people head-banging at the gig instead. And who knows? Some might even break into a moshpit.

ON Tonight, 8 pm
AT The 
Habitat, OYO Townhouse, Khar West.
Log on to

COST Rs 300

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