On Creating His New Album
Seven remarkable songs that
power up emotions and viewpoints
on the state of the world
ISOLASHUN is an album, a podcast,
live performance, and film
From the first moments of listening to Aditya Prakash's album ISOLASHUN, I was awed by his captivating voice, and the pure power of his composition of rhythm, instrumentation, and deep emotions across the collection of 7 distinctively styled songs. I thought... he is singing the world! The dramatic siren-like conclusion of the title song ISOLASHUN, feels like a wakeup call to the controlling forces of power in all its forms, to pay attention to the realities of world crises and coexistence.
Introduced by New Amsterdam Records, we met in the West Village in New York City, to discuss the story behind ISOLASHUN—his early inspirations from his artistic family and studies in the Karnatik classical music of South India; to jazz and contemporary style influences while studying Ethnomusicology at UCLA; his mentors, collaborators and viewpoints on the state of the world. and ultimately finding his own voice in ISOLASHUN. (Nina/Streaming Museum)
"I want ISOLASHUN to make people feel
something deep at their core; to feel something
which goes beyond intellectualism.
Whether it be a disturbance or a joy or a feeling
of peace – I want that emotion to be felt in a very deep, visceral way – because that is how I
felt as I created this work."
The ISOLASHUN album is available on New Amsterdam Records. Artwork by Brock Lefferts. Photo by Maxime Dos, choreographed by Akram Khan.
Two songs from the album:
Aditya Prakash created ISOLASHUN during the pandemic lockdown as a reflection of his inward journey, marked by the solitude and introspection shared by millions of people around the world, as well as a growing awareness of the social disparities that starkly revealed themselves in that period.
Throughout the album, Prakash’s powerful vocal performance, intricately-textured compositions, and experiential approach to Karnatik music fuse to create a deeply personal statement that explores how “the political happenings in my two homes — India and the USA — made me painfully aware of the one-sidedness of history that I was taught since childhood: how Indian “classical” art forms are glorified as infallible and divine but are built on discrimination and oppression. It made me aware of my apathy, made possible by my privilege, that until now had allowed me to look away from my own complicity in these systems."
Prakash has collaborated with a diverse range of innovative artists, who have praised him as a “visionary artist that has found a way to speak to everyone while speaking in his own language” (Tigran Hamasyan) who “makes art that truly reflects the mixes and contradictions, the conflicts and confluences of our lives” (Anoushka Shankar) and is known for his “strong, [and] powerful voice” (Ravi Shankar).
The ISOLASHUN podcast, film,
and live performance
The ISOLASHUN Podcast - A Search for Identity and Beauty
The 5-part series is available wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Prakash converses with his four mentors--T.M. Krishna, Akram Khan, Mythili Prakash, and Vincenzo Lamagna, who have helped shape the music and have guided him in the creation of ISOLASHUN. He’s inviting listeners into the creative process and to speak to these brilliant minds about how they think about art and life and society, and how that plays into the artistic process, because that has inspired him so much and he is sure it will inspire listeners too.
for the track INSIRGENTS directed and choreographed by Akram Khan and co-directed by Maxime Dos will be released in 2025.
Live one-person performance by Aditya Prakash
directed by Mythili Prakash, will premiere at UCLA Center for Art of Performance in 2024.
Prakash produced composed, arranged, performed, recorded, and premixed ISOLASHUN in his garage studio with one microphone and an interface before handing it off to engineer MT Aditya Srinivas to complete.
More music by Aditya Prakash
"Diaspora Kid in about finding my roots in my ever-changing environment, filled with a diverse array of inspirations. From rhythmic Karnatik grooves over a brass band (Greenwood), to an alternative rock Radiohead-inspired feel (Wave for an Ocean), to an aggressive Tigran Hamasyan-inspired modal jazz tune (The Warrior), to an Irish fiddle-inspired sound (Irish Song) to a hip hop rap vibe (Up in Flames), to a funky Indian folk feel (Ambiga), and finally the pure Karnatik (Roots – Ramakali) – this album is about moving through the melting pot of cultures I grew up with in Los Angeles through the lens of the Indian classical voice," says Prakash.
"My exposure to jazz really only happened at UCLA, where I was surrounded by talented musicians who were also my close friends. I was awed at the depth of the art form. I saw many links between raga music and modal jazz and was intrigued to learn more about modal jazz. The first jazz standard I was drawn to and the first song for which I started dialoguing between my own Karnatik language and jazz was Maiden Voyage, a composition of Herbie Hancock. It was an exciting challenge to solo over the changing chords. In Indian classical music, we typically only have one fixed tonic. Our improvisations usually delve into one raga or mode extensively using one fixed tonic as the foundation. In this song, you’ll hear me improvising over shifting tonics and changing the ragas rapidly based on the chord changes - something not commonly done in Indian classical music. Who better to perform with than my bros who sparked my interest - Julian Le, Jonah Levine, Owen Clapp, Jonathon Pinson, Emile Martinez, David Otis."
Aditya Prakash Ensemble performs Hasiba Kheliba at The Getty Center in Los Angeles in March 2019, based on the poetry of Saint Gorakhnath (11th century).
Laugh and play through life by meditating well.
Leave the confines of your mind
Immerse yourself in the Bliss of your heart
Die to your ego. Die to your individuality
Die this sweet death to know your True Self
Die the death which Gorakh experienced.
Aditya Prakash's music has always been firmly anchored in the classical Karnatik musical tradition of South India.. But as he explains, “The notion that Karnatik music is ancient in a linear fashion – staying rooted and connected in sound and content over thousands of years – and that it is our job as practitioners today to maintain this line of purity and untainted tradition is a problematic one that overlooks and over-simplifies the deep transformation and evolution of Karnatik music over time. My teacher, guru T. M. Krishna asked and urged me, ‘What is Karnatik music to you?’ then continued urging me to ‘remove all the external paraphernalia and structural rules, and find out what Karnatik music means to you there,’ he said, pointing at my heart, not my head."