Particles of a cloud

By Audio Pervert - 5/10/2023

"I was born and brought up in Bhopal.. academically a Policy Maker, Communication Designer, and Filmmaker.. studied at NIT Bhopal and the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. For the past 6 years, I have been working as an indie audio-visual composer, academic and writer.. dwelling in film, animation, space design, soundscape ecology and communication design."

A Bhaskar Rao, a.k.a Mustard Lake, is an interdisciplinary artist making music, conceptually based around nature and it's limitless manifestations. Bhaskar has recently released an album titled 'Particles of A Cloud" featuring five compositions. Described by the artist as "being present and being a part of the soundscape being generated, physically." Bhaskar wants to "translate the experience of ‘nature’... rhythm of the natural world through a human perspective... accepting the in-comprehensible, as a legit experience in itself". There are very few artists in India who align their creativity around nature and it's evident breakdown (climate change, global warming, loss of habitat etc). Can music help us create kinship with nature? We feel that it's pertinent to amplify the effort of any such artist, which in consequence encourages other artists, especially from the generation facing the incoming future.

Tell us about your process? How you fulfilled the concept?
A while back I realized that listening in itself is an integral part of composing. That lead me to emulate, experiment, with the limitless expanse of natural and human-made soundscapes. I have always been drawn towards the spatial and tactile aspects of sound. I am particularly interested in making compositions to be heard in 'different spaces'. My production also has been critical, in terms of arriving at the ambient form. Field recordings, acoustic instruments, analog synths and other esoteric instruments form the act of exploration. Is how my sound involves being present and being a part of the soundscape, physically. The ambient form also gives me the freedom to manipulate. To experiment with the legibility. The making of meaning. Call it structure.

For 'Particles Of A Cloud', the first step was listening to Bir, the place itself. Listening to Dhauladhar mountain ranges, the surrounding ecosystem, the people, their lives and livelihoods. Countless elements of nature that exist within the landscape. I wrote about the experience of listening and observing. Poems, phrases, words... To me, writing, just like sound, is a slowed down process. The synthesis of text and sound is something I find exciting. Articulating the compositions. A flux of temporal elements.. Simultaneously I made a lot of field recordings. In order to get thematic flow, the sonic palette eventually is a mix of the above processes, spaces, instruments and aesthetics. A brief audio visual narrative for you at -

What draws you to nature and music?

In essence, I am trying to translate the experience of ‘nature’. As a way to comprehend the pace and rhythm of the natural world, through a human perspective. And more importantly accepting the incomprehensible, as an experience in itself. It was about asking questions,while brutally swaying between a personal outcry and trying to find out the means to resonate with the universal. Nature can be the root source to observe and listen (experience).

The realm is endless, the fabric of nature which embodies lives and livelihoods. Also as a sonic realm, to interpret and understand social, economic, cultural, political, and environmental dynamics around us. A source of query and curiosity also... Grappling with questions like - Can I locate the infinite sphere of nature? Can my thoughts run faster than the tectonic plates? Do I actually chase a sunset? Is it okay to find a forest fire, beautiful? And after all these thoughts stretching the depths of my mind, finding myself overwhelmed by a recurring dream. A dream in which a person I love is always wearing white... Why so?

About Buddhijeev Studios in Bir (Himachal Pradesh)?
The album and it's surrounding project is an outcome of a storytelling residency at
Buddhijeev Studios
in Bir. A quaint little valley located in the mid-range of the Himalayas, is also host to monasteries, farmers, an Indo-Tibetan community and a grassroots institution like Buddhijeev. Interdisciplinary in nature, at the crossroads of Indian art, culture and the political landscape, the objective at buddhijeev is lucid. "To create content for the common public through which they can think about and understand the world around them better..."

As an artist, what is your future direction like?
I am currently working on a sound installation project exploring settlements around rivers. It's centered around the river Godavari, in and around the city of Nashik. The place is of tremendous diversity, in terms of it's culture, history, religion and nature.

Moving towards site specific work. Compositions inspired by the environment and respective ecosystems. I wish to study a variety of natural and human ecosystems. I also want to create collaborative platforms for people working along these lines. To materialize future projects, with a bigger projection than what I am currently operating out of...

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