This podcast series by Aditya Prakash, co-created with Sushma Soma is based around his experimental and bold debut solo album, ISOLASHUN, which was released on New Amsterdam Records on October 13, 2023.
Aditya’s direction of exploration on ISOLASHUN stems from the continual search for a more authentic identity and in the case of this work, that core of that search was redefining what beauty means to him; so it made sense for him to speak to his mentors in the creation of ISOLASHUN, all prolific boundary-pushers in their own right: Akram Khan, TM Krishna, Mythili Prakash and Vincenzo Lamagna.
Each episode will be a conversation with these artists on how they define beauty and how that definition informs the way they create art and view themselves.
A Note from Aditya:
“What is beauty in sound? Is it a soothing melody, a unique and pleasing timbre to the voice, a pristine blend of sounds in the mix, an orchestration that calms or excites the mind?
Over the last few years, especially during the start of the pandemic lockdown, I was forced to reflect and confront my own biases. I’ve realized that my definitions of beauty weren’t evolving as I evolved; beauty was an aesthetic that I was not challenging or questioning.
Has beauty actually been weaponized? Has it been used as a smokescreen to hide and disengage with what we consider ugly, messy and complicated? I noticed that many of my musical choices were attempts at making music that I felt would be “beautiful” and appealing. I wondered, as I saw the tension, anxiety, violence and rage in the world around me and within me in my own hypocrisy and privilege, why was I allowing my static notions of beauty to be the focal point in my music? It disturbed me that I was complicit in weaponizing this aesthetic; rejecting emotions and sounds in my very own voice that represent much more than these homogeneous ideals.
Beyond music, I was waking up to see how the aesthetics of “beauty” had the dangerous ability to silence and eradicate communities of people and voices who don’t fall under this privilege-made construct. Case in point is my own artform, Karnatik Music, which is now an artform practiced almost entirely by a privileged community that I am a part of.
The anger and disappointment in my own hypocrisy has fueled the space of tension in which my new music lies. I invite you to join me in that space of discomfort – to sit in it, feel it and just be.
As I created this music, and opened a space for the messy and abrasive to coexist with the melodious and emotional, I found that the deep immersion in the complexity of these feelings itself was beauty for me.”