Fol­low­ing the lion­ised 2017 elec­tron­ica album They Dance in the Dark and last year’s celes­ti­al album The Hap­pen­ing, (in response to Cov­id 19) Pro­du­cer, Per­cus­sion­ist and Com­poser RENU returns on May 15th with her latest single Stut­ter Step’. Ori­gin­ally a filmic rework of an ori­gin­al com­pos­i­tion that won the inter­na­tion­al EXP___ con­test in Octo­ber 2020 — com­mis­sioned by the Goethe-Insti­tut Chica­go and Insti­tut Français Mid­w­est. RENUs ori­gin­al Inten­tion was to cre­ate a Hip Hop track, this then morph­ed into a Glitch Hop cine­mat­ic instru­ment­al track.  Later she col­lab­or­ated with French-Mali­an rap­per & singer/artist Astan K for the B‑side.

RENU who is cur­rently based in Ber­lin heard first heard the term “Stut­ter Step” on the US mil­len­ni­al TV series “Girls”. She sub­sequently found out that “Stut­ter Step is a term used in bas­ket­ball. RENU sub­con­sciously looked towards Amer­ica for inspir­a­tion for this track. “Stut­ter Step” was also influ­enced by the BLM move­ment and the killings in Amer­ica last year, in a sim­il­ar vein to oth­er pro­jects of 2020 such as the eponym­ous “You Do Bet­ter” fea­tur­ing Tami­ka D. Mal­lory and I Can’t Breathe” by RnA who like RENU also have some links with the former UK Asi­an Under­ground move­ment.

The cur­rent aware­ness around the top­ic of Anti-Black­ness in the Asi­an com­munity also shaped some of RENUs cur­rent out­put. She is aware of mak­ing art without cutting/pasting and appro­pri­at­ing black pop­u­lar cul­ture. For her, art/music are memor­ies of music which are then ‘re-pho­to­graphed’.

Stut­ter Step’ is the first in a series of singles, exper­i­ment­al music films and live music films which are all planned to be released in 2021.

Fur­ther releases include RENU‘s exper­i­ment­al rendi­tion of a Baul song from a Lalon Fakir dis­ciple from Bangladesh. The music will con­jure images of a Baul speak­ing to us from the future. RENU acknow­ledges that people will either love or hate this rendi­tion, as some Baul/Fakir pur­ists will not enjoy the exper­i­ment­al endeav­our.

A third release, unnamed as of now, fea­tures a sing­er who is based in Andalu­cia and is Roma & Syr­i­an by birth. This piece, ori­gin­ally an instru­ment­al cre­ated for a big cho­reo­graphed pro­duc­tion at Hebbel Am Ufer, in Ber­lin in 2021 and titled “LIU”, the release will be an exper­i­ment­al film and reworked with added vocals.

Rani Gumphawhich was part of an exhib­i­tion ‘A slightly curving place’ was com­mis­sioned by Haus Kul­turen Der Welt, Ber­lin in sum­mer of 2020 is an Indi­an clas­sic­ally inspired sound design which was part of an ambison­ic exhib­i­tion on the Rani Gumpha caves in India. RENU was com­mis­sioned to cre­ate the sound design for a sound/lighting bath and it was com­posed with Indi­an clas­sic­al viol­in­ist Madhuri Chat­to­pad­hyay and fea­tured nar­ra­tion from Bani Abidi (exper­i­ment­al visu­al artist from Pakistan, based in Ber­lin). The nar­ra­tion excerpt was taken from the book — Dan­cing Odissi’ (Par­a­top­ic Per­form­ances of Gender and State) by writer Anur­ima Banerji.

Them­at­ic­ally this track is tied to how con­tem­por­ary India looks to the past and how this past is a con­struct and one that is very dif­fer­ent from con­tem­por­ary India.

2021 brings fur­ther releases of film & music, includ­ing a live per­cus­sion per­form­ance using samples from Jeanne Lee‘s icon­ic album — ‘Con­spir­acy’.

Also in 2021, RENU will deliv­er her next major album. The album will them­at­ic­ally and music­ally dis­cuss space, cos­mogony, cos­mo­logy and the yearn­ing for an unknown past. RENU will also exam­ine what is known as old clas­sic­al forms/music/art prac­tices (Indi­an clas­sic­al, fla­menco) and place them in a con­tem­por­ary setting/production.

For this album RENU has taken inspir­a­tion from Alice Col­trane - spe­cific­ally the spir­itu­al­ity and very open faith of Col­trane’s earli­er albums. RENU explores faith with an expans­ive tone, elec­tron­ica that is exper­i­ment­al with clas­sic­al lean­ings & live per­cus­sion treated with effects and live loop­ing with Ableton — mar­ry­ing elec­tron­ic exper­i­ment­al music with pure instru­ments, a pro­cess that star­ted with ‘They Dance in the Darkbut this time in a group con­text as opposed to a solo one. The group will include musi­cians from Andalu­cia & India. What is inter­est­ing is that this per­spect­ive & treat­ment of the music will be minus the colo­ni­al gaze.

“I’m not a pro­du­cer look­ing out say­ing how can I use this, I’m look­ing to what I use already. Every­one is hurt­ing and fight­ing, and I want to get back to basics, spread some love without brush­ing things under the car­pet – that’s the only way I can secure my well being.” — RENU


Stut­ter Step releases on 15th May 2021. Vis­it for more info. 


DJ Isuru is a music journ­al­ist and broad­caster on SOAS Radio. He also runs the Mishti Dance event series fea­tur­ing the best in Asi­an Under­ground, the next party will be on August 21st at Pop­lar Uni­on.

Ins­tagram — isuruper­sona

Twit­ter — @persona_dj

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DJ Isuru is a music journ­al­ist and broad­caster on SOAS Radio. He also runs the Mishti Dance event series fea­tur­ing the best in Asi­an Under­ground, the next party will be on Feb­ru­ary 18th at Rich Mix.


DJ Isuru is a music journalist and broadcaster on SOAS Radio. He also runs the Mishti Dance event series featuring the best in Asian Underground, the next party will be on February 18th at Rich Mix.