Anuj Rastogi: Taking music a dubstep further

Anuj Rastogi: taking music a dubstep further

Anuj Rastogi began his musical experimentation when he was 4 years old.

With a child's red tape recorder, he lifted songs from television shows and played back as many notes as he could on a rickety organ.

Exploring sounds became his pastime.During his Edmonton childhood and adolescence he added rock, urban, soul and Bollywood styles to his repertoire, and when an Asian Underground scene developed in London in the late 1990s, he added electronica and Indian classical music as well.

"When I finished university, I bought some recording gear and started putting my ideas out there," he says of his early studio compositions and stage shows.

In 2004, he moved to Toronto and, with new players, continued to delve ever further into what he calls his "sonic journey."

With eight band members, Rastogi continues the trip Saturday, at 8p.m., at the Al Green Theatre, a coveted spot on the annual fall Small World Festival that opens tonight with two other fusion acts.

Rastogi's latest work centres on dubstep, an electronica sub-genre that combines a quick, syncopated tempo with a slow drum and bass rhythm.

"I wanted to take on a new aesthetic," he says of his latest release Dark Matter. "It started off as an experiment and turned into a five-track EP."

Fusion runs like a sub-theme through the festival of world roots music.

Toronto Indo-jazz ensemble Tasa co-opens the 11-day event at Lula Lounge tonight at 9 p.m., with a new CD, Alchemy, and new vocalist, Samidha Joglekar.

Also tonight, Nomadica, led by Toronto's David Buchbinder (trumpet) and Roula Said (vocals), performs "Nu Gypsy" music as part of a double bill called Electric Gypsyland and Funkabelly, at the Gladstone Ballroom at 9p.m.

"And still they have the spirit to make wonderful music," wrote the Star's intrepid Rosie DiManno of Czech gypsies on her way back from Afghanistan via Prague this month, "from sad ballads to whirlwind dances to something called Nu Gypsy Sound: gypsy jazz, gypsy rap, gypsy hip-hop."

The hottest ticket remains super-trio Bela Fleck (banjo), Zakir Hussain (tabla) and Edgar Meyer (bass), at the Royal Conservatory of Music's new Koerner Hall next Tuesday at 8p.m.

The festival runs to Oct. 4. For full details visit smallworldmusic.com or call 416-536-5439

Toronto Star - September 2009

John Goddard