About the music

Stories from Wonderland

Often in life, time and patience brings you what you truly desire. Understand why and what you love, and it will come to you. The music finds you. For the longest time I had little idea what my music was. I love film score music, am fascinated by jazz, Afro-cuban music and tango, marvelled at the works of the great classical composers (currently it’s stravinsky) and am always intrigued/inspired by Japanese movie, anime soundtracks , improvised music etc.

In a similar sort of way, throughout most of our lives, we seek out to find out who we are, why we are here, and what we are meant to do. Music is no different. Classical music is an interpretative art, while jazz encourages self expression. My idea has always been to reconcile both - I believe for the music to truly connect and flourish, a significant amount of the musical materials should originate from the performer, the musicians himself/herself. What’s written should encourage the musician to express himself in  a natural way, with each piece of music should have written parts/themes while leaving room for musicians to improvise and truly express themselves. It makes for more interesting listening as well, as each concert would be different!

I asked myself what was the thing about music that attracted so much. It was the intensity of creating music “live” - improvising. Through the music manifesting itself in that moment, we connect with the audience the same way one connects with a story-teller - we experience the adventure, the joy, sadness, the excitement as it unfolds. That’s what makes it an out-of-the-world experience. To me, it’s like watching a movie, except that you become part of the movie ( by virtue of the fact that your very presence makes a difference to musicians performing.)

I also believe that music is a /the journey in itself; the process of creating the melodies, sounds, and finding the inspiration as we create. When you find the spark, the music takes a life of its own. I wanted to share this with the listener. However this process takes time and patient listening.

Hence, the length of most pieces in this album are 7 minutes or more. I am attracted by the idea of “deep listening” where we listen much more intently once the music goes beyond the typical length of commercial tracks (3-5mins). Jazz performances have that incredible ability to bring the listener to another place and time.

After figuring out what I wanted from the music, I was fortunate enough to meet the right musicians with whom to create the music. We did some performances, re-wrote and experimented with the music some more, and jammed quite a bit to develop on our own musical language/vocabulary for the music, to improvise as an ensemble. This went on for around 5 years. It was only last year, that I felt we were ready to put together an album.

Given limited sources, and considering this our first attempt at making an album, we are happy to say that the recordings captured much of the intensity in the music and our individual styles of expression. However they are not fully reflective of our live performances (which are more exciting, adventurous!) but present a good introduction to our sound. Everything was recorded “live” with everyone in the same space, and minimal editing was done. Certain tracks, like Goddess of Rain were basically one takes. For the rest we took the best of two takes and often realised that no matter how much more prepared we were, the first take was usually the best!

Prelude to Fly with Me was an improvised piano piece with the intention of bringing in the main theme of Fly with Me at the end. Stories of Wonderland  was a fortunate “ accident” - an improvised piece which came from some noodling on the piano in the studio. It was the last piece of the puzzle for the album, the last song I was looking for. It was a fitting magical end to an amazing journey.

Making Stories of Wonderland was the ultimate adventure for us, and we hope it will bring you as much a sense of wonder and joy, as it has brought us in creating it.


23rd Feb 2011