For our ‘Artist of The Month’ February Edition, we bring to you one of the original dons of the Asian Underground. The powerhouse helped shape the community during its formative years, and continues to champion the genre, two decades since their inception!
To give you some context, Asian Underground is a community that started finding its roots in the British Asian and South Asian Canadian communities in the late 80s. Bhanga as a genre saw an upward curve in the UK charts which gave the communities the impetus they needed to release the music they believed in.
The blurring of different South Asian sounds into then-contemporary electronic sounds continued, and it eventually brought genres like Drum & Bass, Jungle, Breaks, Breakbeat and UK Garage to give birth to a niche called the Asian Underground.
Nasha Experience was a collective that was formed during the same time, and thanks to their explosive ability to weave global melodies and flavors into nu-skool electronic music, the supergroup has delivered some of the finest tunes in the Asian Underground.
To kick things off with our ‘Artist of The Month’ series for February, we will take a look at how things began for the Nasha Experience, their influence, their record labels and lots more!
EARLY YEARS & INCEPTION
The formation of Nasha Experience goes back as early as 1996, when the legendary Talvin Singh’s ‘Anokha – Soundz of The Asian Underground’ and ‘Outcaste’ club nights were in full swing. That is when the wider British Asian community came together to connect with each other.
Ges-e and Osmani Soundz from the supergroup go a long way back, but the conversations about alliance picked up pace when the flavorsome textures of eastern elements started segueing into styles like Jungle, Drum & Bass, UK Garage and many other bass music genres.
Eventually, Ges-e and Sobur came together to form Nasha Records in 2003 and released the Eastern Drum And Breaks compilation featuring Osmani Soundz, Bandish Projekt, Aref Durvesh, and many more. This gave the scene the platform they needed to release their music. Ges-e and Sobur then brought Osmani Soundz on board to form Nasha Experience in 2003.
Ges-e and Osmani Soundz were joined by Shandy, Equal-i, Nuphlo, and Sukh Knight in the years to come. This was the formartion of an Asian Underground supergroup like never before. Since then, Nasha Experience have revolutionized the scene, going on to release seminal material on their Nasha Records imprint. The 14 releases so far have incorporated Drum & Bass and breaks, with tracks like ‘808’, ‘Bhooli’, ‘Qawali Dub’ and tons of individual marvels on the label.
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Nasha Records was formed in 2003 by Ges-e and Sobur Ahmed with the intention of highlighting deserving talents in the Asian Underground scene. Their debut release came with the ‘Eastern Drum & Breaks’ compilation, which brought together artists in the experimental breakbeat and Drum & Bass space.
Nasha Records were quick to follow up on their debut release with the second edition of their Eastern Drum & Breaks series. The release of ‘Aaja’ marked the collective’s first appearance as Nasha Experience. The compilation also featured seminal releases from the likes of Equal-i and Osmani Soundz, encapsulating the Eastern sound of London and beyond.
Since then, Nasha Records expanded their label template and dived into individual releases, along with their celebrated various artists compilations. The compilations have seen the likes of Equal-i, Sukh Knight, Katz, Shandy release tunes like ‘Liquid Dream’, ‘Cop Killer’, ‘Maai’, while exploring the deeper and aggressive sounds of Bass music.
After releasing groundbreaking material for a decade, Nasha Records went into a hiatus before returning in 2020 for the ‘Kufiq’ EP in 2020. This was followed by the release of their latest EP called ’40 Acres’ featuring Osmani Soundz, Ges-e and Shandy for two tracks, with the third one bringing the entire crew together for ‘In Deep’.
HUNDRED COLOURS MUSIC
While Nasha Records had gone into a hiatus, Hundred Colours Music is a label that took birth in 2015 for a specific reason. Nasha Records had an established aesthetic that revolved around styles like Drum & Bass, Breaks, Breakbeat and Dubstep.
Nasha Experience were consistently writing music in the studio. This also led them to make music which had evolved from their trademark style, no longer fitting the Nasha Records’ bill.
In came Hundred Colours Music, which was created to support the experimental style of music that the group created. Here, the fundamental difference was that all the music released on Hundred Colours was individualistic, contrary to Nasha’s ethos of the entire group coming together.
Since their inception, Hundred Colours Music have released fresh tunes from the Nasha Experience crew, while bringing talents like Kone Kone and Baransingha to the label for their unique Eastern bass touch. Hundred Colours Music’s most recent release came in 2021, which brought Nuphlo, Osmani Soundz, Barasingha, and Kone Kone on the ‘Dard’ EP.
When we come back next week with our next chapter of our ‘Artist of The Month’ series, we will bring you Nasha Records’ best releases! Stay tuned.