Take an electronic trance song, one that goes best with darkened rooms and dancing shoes, and slowly, strip the sounds of each instrument away until it is de-constructed. Now add live keys, vocals and most importantly, an orchestra of six string musicians to it. The sum of these parts is what you get at the orchestral rendition of 11:11, an electronic dance music album by DJ Manny and Ajmal Khan. All original tracks from the album are being re-imagined as a live classical electronic music showcase.
Released on November 11 last year, by Nikhil Chinapa’s nascent label Submerge, the album is touring the country; however in Chennai, the scale is much higher. The duo is collaborating with Madras Strings, the full string ensemble of the Madras Chamber Orchestra and other musicians such as guitarist Bruce Lee Mani (of Thermal And A Quarter fame), Rachna Ramdin on vocals, and Vivin Kuruvilla on keyboards. “We have played this album in Pune as well, and will take it to other cities. But we wanted to do something big for Chennai,” says Manny. The 11:11 Live experience will also incorporate Manny and Ajmal’s rework of the album’s tracks, new unreleased material, and re-edits.
The original album had three tracks, but eventually expanded to 11. “While making this album we stumbled upon the idea of 11:11,” he says, referencing to the legend in numerology that the time 11:11 has a significance in numerology, and stands for synchronicity.
“We had 11 tracks, 11 musicians… The number 11 was popping up quite a bit,” he says.
While the album features songs in the styles of Afro house, nu-disco, electronic downtempo, progressive and techno house, the live version played in Chennai will highlight the string section. Nishadhan has composed the score for the orchestra, and will be conducting at 11:11 Live. “We de-constructed our tracks and sat down with Nishadhan for three months to put together this version,” says Manny, who hopes that this immersive experience will inspire the younger dance music generation to engage with classical orchestral music.
Post the one-hour performance, the musical party will continue, with DJ Skippy in charge of the turntable and closing the show with a special 11:11 remix set.
11:11 Live will be played at Radio Room, RA Puram, on April 3 from 8 pm onwards. RSVP to attend, visit 11Live.in