Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj a.k.a. the MIDIval PunditZ are spearheading the
Asian electronica musical revolution from their home base in New Delhi with
their raw energy in their music and their radical DJ-sets at Cyber Mehfils -
events the two produce inspired by Talvin Singh's influential Anokha club night
in the U.K. Their love of Indian classical music is intrinsic to their
aesthetic, as is their natural fusion of crushing beats and insistent digital
The musical partnership of India's Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj dates back to their childhood years. Having cemented their acquaintance in grade school, several years' separation would ensue before the two reunited in 1994. Each member brought his unique talents to the party: Gaurav was an architecture student who moonlighted as a radio DJ and Tapan, an IT specialist by day, engineered at a New Delhi recording studio where Gaurav's station booked time. Both were veterans of India's dance club culture and, more importantly, both shared a love of the spare yet soulful classical music of their homeland. Pooling funds begged from relatives and friends, the two set up their own studio and, by 1997, their partnership had coalesced into the MIDIval PunditZ.
Much as both Gaurav and Tapan liked the imported hip-hop, breakbeat, house and especially the drum'n'bass sounds of their club-hopping nights, the foreign sounds, "Didn't leave an impression," by Tapan's account. Dedicating themselves to a fusion of their beloved classical ragas with the beats and loops of electronica, the nascent PunditZ circulated pressings of their initial efforts on New Delhi's club circuit. These were well received, setting the stage for their initial contact with Talvin Singh, whose musical hybrids of Indian raga and electro-beats were gaining international notice. His positive response to the duo's demos led to their meeting in 1998 when Singh visited India. In addition to the PunditZ being asked to contribute a track for Singh's second Anokha compilation, they became part of Tabla Beat Science .
The MIDIval PunditZ have gained instant notoriety in the U.S. with their featured track in the hit film Monsoon Wedding and their recent involvement with Bill Laswell's Tabla Beat Science Project. They were also a featured act in 2002's Asian Massive tour, which had sold out shows in both Los Angeles.
The MIDIval PunditZ are the first-ever Indian electronica band to sign to an international label.