A + E | Music by Native Indian feat. Ray Kurzweil

series: the inspired arts
May 10, 2019

image | below
Portrait of recording artist Siva Baskaran • aka: Native Indian.

— the music —

album: Nature of the Self
volume: no. 1
song title: “Singularity” feat. Ray Kurzweil
recording artist: Native Indian • aka Siva Baskaran
year: 2019

listen | player

— the feature —

publication: Mint
story title: Jazz, hip-hop as a story-telling tool
section: lounge
category: features
author: by Bhanuj Kappal
date: April 13, 2019

note: collected for library archive

— introduction —

On his debut album Nature of the Self rapper + producer Siva Baskaran (aka: Native Indian) blends jazz, synth-pop, hip-hop, dance music, and a plethora of samples to create a kaleidoscopic sound-scape — spanning continents and musical traditions.

This sonic melange sets the stage for Baskaran’s sci-fi / fantasy exploration of the history of identity + the self: featuring Rastafarian robots, post-singularity deities, and philosopher AIs.

Siva Baskaran said: “I’ve always been inspired by non-musical sources like games, comics and films. So I wanted to create this semi-fantasy, semi-realistic story that branched out from all the inspiration that I had kind of gathered over the years.” He is 29 years old and based in Chennai, India.

An automotive engineer by training, Baskaran joined Toyota after he graduated. But he quit soon after to look for work in the music industry. He took up a job as an events manager at the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in Chennai, before moving to Mumbai, India — where he managed a number of popular indie artists, including bass music producer Sandunes and multi-instrumentalist Sid Vashi.

He said, ““The only musical education I have had is what I learned from the artists I’ve managed, and hung-out with. Also working as an artist manager was a great way to understand the music industry, how it works, who to approach.”

— rich tapestry of sounds —

The Native Indian project was conceived about 4 years ago, when Baskaran was still in Mumbai. He initially wanted to put a band together, but quickly realized that he had neither the time nor the bandwidth to juggle both a day job and a live music act. So he started experimenting with electronic production, putting down loops and song scratches that drew from the rich — and often noisy — tapestry of sounds around him.

He said: “The sounds I wanted to use and the sonic landscape I wanted to create were very much based on what you hear when you walk down the street in India. I wanted to draw a balance between something that people from India can readily understand and relate to, and something that’s like a passage for people from the outside to come and view our world.”

Early last year, Baskaran took time-off from his day job to convert these loops into fully fleshed out songs, tied together by a loose narrative inspired by his interest in futurism, science fiction, and philosophy.

— inspiration from futurists —

The 7 tracks follow a god-like being from the future who travels back in time to unearth the roots of his mental and physical conditioning. The works of inventor Ray Kurzweil + philosopher Yuval Noah Harari PhD are important touchstones for Baskaran — who also took inspiration from comic books and his own dreams.

He said: “Each song represents a key moment or environment that shaped the DNA that has been passed on to him.”

With the album released April 2019 on the independent Boxout.fm recording label, Baskaran is already looking at the follow-up. He plans on collaborating with comic book artists to create a visual representation for his narrative, as well as start work on the stories for the next record.

He said: “On volume 2, I want to take the characters, identities already in place, and the micro-cosmos in which they exist — and develop the story further. Now that the character has understood where his conditioning comes from, what does he do with that information and how does that story develop?”

listen | the album

album: Nature of the Self
volume: no. 1
recording artist: Native Indian • aka: Siva Baskaran
year: 2019

listen | track 1 — After Morning
listen | track 2 — Purple
listen | track 3 — Non-Believer
listen | track 4 — Compassion for Thieves
listen | track 5 — Jazz Market
listen | track 6 — Singularity • feat. Ray Kurzweil
listen | track 7 — Disorder

on the web | pages

BandCamp | Native Indian

lyrics | “Singularity” feat. Ray Kurzweil
recording artist: Native Indian • aka: Siva Baskaran

Hello humans
Rasta robot here from the future
Human-Artificial intelligence teacher
I’m here to warn you of your behavior
That’s all I can do — no — can’t be no savior

In 5 years: you’ll finish modelling the brain
In 10 years: you’ll have robots playing games
No more tension from losing your car keys
You’ll be printing your own digital copies

No more gardens and two-bedroom apartments
Human land will be split into quadrants
Nanobots living right in your bloodstream
A cloud-based cortex on top as the whipped cream

New scales to measure your life’s quality
Everyone’s equal in virtual reality
Chips in your joints and pay in bit-coins
Ain’t getting [ censored ] if you don’t have the points
I’m sorry.

I’m sorry humans, not all of you can take it
The future is near, and not all of you can make it
You’ve had it while it’s nice, and now you pay the price
Or take a moment, sit back and hear my advice

There’s no value for coal in the future
You dig some more and put a hole in the future
Not all of you can afford to get to Mars
Feel so frustrated, throw some bricks at the stars

Have you forgotten your one true purpose?
Take what you need and share all the surplus

The future is full and the seats are limited
Can’t cope up if your action is still primitive

The future is full and the seats are limited
You can’t cope up if your action is still primitive

You can’t cope up if your action is still primitive
The future is near

I see forests and animals in threat
A whole lot of opinions, not a hint of regret
Farmlands vacant, your free will taken
Borders collapsing as middle Earth is shaking

Singularity is near , don’t you see it?
Got to embrace it, no option to forfeit
Rasta robot will question your choices
Rasta robot will speak for the voiceless

* Ray Kurzweil sample begins here.

— notes —

AI = artificial intelligence

* Ray Kurzweil is Raymond Clyde Kurzweil

[ story file ]

story title: A + E | Music by Native Indian feat. Ray Kurzweil
deck: series: the inspired arts
year: 2019
section: blog

[ end of file ]