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September 2016

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Journey to the Void

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The music artist takes his ideas and creativity, packs them in his rucksack along with his guitar, and goes on a trip. And at the end of the journey, songs are born.

Making a music album is no less than a journey for the artist who makes it. It’s about embracing your creativity and thoughts and seeing them evolve into music.  But this evolution, it takes time. It doesn’t wait to happen when you first enter the studio. It actually starts much before that. For Ajit Padmanabh, the journey to World Void Web and ultimately Think Void started off as him as a child, listening to Michael Jackson’s Bad. Hooked from the very first listen, it ushered to him a new world of sounds and instruments. He spent years absorbing those sounds, night and day. Years later he began dabbling with the keyboard and then progressed to guitar. With the guitar as his first choice, WVW kickstarted it as a lead guitarist for his college band, performing covers for rock and metal songs. Michael Jackson and Carnatic music legends were appended with Pink Floyd and Metallica, in his quest for new sounds. Along with it, a renewed interest in history and mythology began to appear, and the first seeds of a new way of musical expression started to develop. An expression without words.

Dabbling with instrumental music for several years, and a voracious reading of books, journals, e-articles, theories or opinions, on Indian philosophy, science and autobiographies instilled in him, a whole new direction and self-belief. It is this self-belief that compelled WVW to take a sabbatical from his successful career in IT industry, dwell on the concept of Akash or Void and bring Think Void to reality.

And that’s what WVW’s debut album, Think Void, is made up of. A journey filled with his inspirations and learnings, seeking the elusive Voidophone (Sound of Void) : all leading up to the first day of recording – Every bit of it shaping the idea that was Think Void. And the best part is that the journey has just begun! Let’s see what the next leg of the journey leads to!

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Blank Point Studios – Bangalore

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It all started in 2006 when I wanted to convert some of my songs to recorded music. Initially, it was a very basic setup with an 8-channel mixer, a guitar with a Zoom 606 pedal, a tape recorder (Yes, a tape recorder back then and all on tape!), and MIDI software. All the songs that were on the older “World Void Web” site were single-track recordings, un-mastered.
I have come a long way since then, and have been procuring equipment, customizing furniture to hold the equipment and with time, the studio has evolved to what it is now. Since my music is about the “Void” experience, I thought it was apt to call it Blank Point Studios. In the Studio’s logo, the 7 lines denote the 7 notes of music and the circle they create forms the “blank point”.

Located at my house in Bangalore, Blank Point Studio consists of PHONIC MU-802 mixer, Mackie Studio Monitors, Zoom H2 digital recorder, AKAI MPK-61 MIDI Controller Keyboard, Digitech GNX4 workstation, BOSS ME-50 Guitar Pedal, Marshall MG10CF amplifier, a couple of speaker systems from Bose and PolkAudio to get the sonic experience, A 4-channel MUX to route the audio output to any speaker configuration in the studio, A 4-channel router to enable multiple headphone inputs required in case of chorus recording, AKG Quincy Jones Studio Headphones, M-AUDIO condenser MIC, Fender Starcaster electronic drum set, Radel equipment like Taalmala and Shruti box, percussion equipment like Rainstick and other “sound toys”. There is also a NI Maschine control surface, which is primarily used to record grooves.

While all these were wired earlier, they are all now inter- connected within customized furniture to mask all the wiring. The studio also houses an iMac (new procurement as a result of evolution of my sound and recording quality and an infinite ambition!) as well as a PC (Intel core-i5 quad-core@3GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, to be phased-out) which is essentially used to edit the recorded sounds, overlay the MIDI sounds, mix and master the recording. It is also used to create the videos that have been made thus far. iMac hosts ProTools, Ableton, Logic along with a host of plugins, VSTi for arrangements, mixing and mastering.
The speaker systems are configured via a MUX and have been acquired to give me a feel of the sonic experience – the philosophy being that if the sound is rich and complete in a low wattage output, it would be good with any other speakers. Though my AKG studio headphones give me the studio recording sound, I’d prefer to listen to the sound on different speaker configurations to ensure the recording is perfect enough to be heard through a variety of audio devices. The output sound is controlled through a Denon high current Amplifier.