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.


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.