Sine painter AKA the future of dance floors
The Sine Painter, aka Jayanth Ramachandra of Bangalore, may have the traditions of techno, house, drum and bass and ambient music behind him but his future is less clearly mapped out. In the three years since he first started fiddling with Abelton, he has already abandoned the safety of his early forays into deep club music for a production style that is less easy to pin down. The sci-fi referencing electronic tracks he makes are ready for future facing dancefloors and have parallels in sino grime, footwork, the outer fringes of trap and experimental electronica. His recent EP, URL Dreams was recently released via an anime-inspired microsite with the help of RBMA and it reveals a young producer swimming strongly against the tide.
I don’t particularly want to stand out or be seen as unique, I just want people to see that there is so much more out there - things we can all exploreSine Painter
His first musical love was for mainstream, aggressive American heavy metal however. Jayanth says: “I picked up the guitar during the last year of school, when I was 17 years old. I used to learn Lamb Of God songs. I was totally into them, Devildriver and Opeth.”
He laughs when asked if he could shred: “No! I don’t think I was very good! To be honest I still think I’m a bad musician but my strengths lie in production. If you hand me any musical instrument my first instinct won’t be, ‘I can’t play this because I’m not talented enough’ but, ‘How can I make sounds out of this instrument and use them in other ways.’”
Unlike in the 80s and 90s, the paths between heavy metal and dance music are actually now quite smooth and well established and it wasn’t long before he was at college studying Information Science Engineering and swapping downtuned riffs for the pulverising bass drops of American bro-step, the perennial hardcore sounds of The Prodigy and the minimum entry level drum and bass of Pendulum.
His taste in electronic music matured to deep house and euphoric techno until one day he couldn’t ignore the voice that was nagging at him: “Ok, so you liked Lamb Of God so much you learned how to play guitar, so why don’t you do the same with dance music?”
He used a month’s vacation between semesters at college to lock himself away and immerse himself in the world of Abelton, and then the Sine Painter was born.
As with some of his younger contemporaries in the Indian electronic music scene, the influence of traditional music can be discerned but not in the use of obvious or stereotypical signifiers. He explains: “I know some [Indian dance music producers] react against Bollywood music because they see it as mainstream but I haven’t even listened to that much of it because I’m Tamil! It’s a different style of music sung in a different language.
“I try to incorporate traditional folk rhythms into my music but not in an obvious way, so I wouldn’t have a direct sample of it and I would change the sounds. Basically when you listen to J-Lin it sounds a lot like Tamil folk music from the future because a lot of those triplet rhythms are very inherent to the folk music from where I’m from. Some tracks by MESH sounds like normal folk music to me but with futuristic samples instead of drums.”
With URL Utopias his first instinct was to make something that sounded unlike anything else going on in his home country: “There are very specific sounds that people are following in India. You have this sophisticated scene for complex rhythms and deep chords which is around the Consolidated people; then you have a bunch of people trying to recreate the bass music of the UK, and then there are people into deep house and techno. It felt like these were distinct and identifiable patches of music and I wanted to do something that didn’t sound like any of them.”
Not understanding why people fetishize smooth and warm analog sounds, he opted instead for a “hyper-distorted digital aesthetic”. He adds: “I’m flying by the seat of my pants really. Early on I was making house music and it was easy but now I don’t know where I’m going it’s more of a challenge. I don’t particularly want to stand out or be seen as unique, I just want people to see that there is so much more out there - things we can all explore.”