Lokesh embodies the sprawling global village that the age of internet music has ushered in. He was born and grew up studying computer science in New Delhi, but now lives and works as a DJ and producer in San Francisco, where he also contributes to the pan-global electronic musical co-ops Vishnu Operative and Ultraviolet Carnival. "I was into electronic music when I was in India," he explains, "I kind of moved on from the stereotypical genres to the more experimental and innovative drum'n'bass to figure out my own sound."
The opening track "Maya" encapsulates Utopia's synthesis of global electronic styles and subgenres: Stringed instruments and chanted vocals from his native India are looped to trace and multiply with each other, while its rhythmic pulse beats deeper and deeper into a trance. Lokesh similarly cuts and pastes traditional Indian instruments and vocals into the techno house-driven "PsySwarg."
Lokesh's description of "Oscillations" as "shennai-driven drum'n'bass" proves prophetic; as the ancient shennai voice groans and shrieks, it becomes encapsulated and then trapped in its shiny, sleek accompaniment, an ancient scarab slowly captured and finally suffocated and entombed in amber.
"Quantum Chant Machine," a less frantic acoustic guitar and percussion hypno-groove interlooped with kalimba passages and chants that sound like prayers, breaks the techno and house beatLokesh's uniquely global take on "laid back Latin rock."
"Utopia (Here and Now)" couldn't be more synthetic and yet seems to organically grow from one percussionist, joined by one chanting vocalist, while its flickering electric jungle pulse grows strong, then stronger, and then strong enough to overtake the other instruments and hijack the entire tune into futuristic, interstellar overdrive.
Lokesh's vision for his music and his world seems one and the same: "Music without boundaries in a world without bordersthat is Utopia," he says.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.