Should You Watch MTV’s New Show “Sound Trippin’”?
If it at first you don’t succeed, hire someone who did. That seems to be the strategy of MTV going by the channel’s decision to employ the services of Babble Fish Productions for their new show Sound Trippin’. Babble Fish’s The Dewarists, after all, got right many of the things CokeStudio@MTV got wrong. The folks at MTV were obviously quite impressed by The Dewarists, particularly by the first episode during which British singer-composer Imogen Heap went around Jaipur recording the sounds of the city for her collaborative track with Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani.
In Sound Trippin’, Hindi film music director Sneha Khanwalkar, who is often cited as one of the few female composers in Bollywood, travels to ten cities across the country to record unusual sounds and create ten different songs that capture the spirit of the places she visits–an idea that immediately brings to mind the work of Heap. Going by the first episode of Sound Trippin’, the MTV-Babble Fish marriage has resulted in both parties rubbing off on each other.
Khanwalkar visits Punjab but we are largely spared any obvious clichés associated with the state. Though Khanwalkar’s song is partly inspired by the gidda folk dance, we aren’t shown a single shot of either gidda or bhangra. Instead, she spends time recording samples at a “rural sports” tournament in Qila Raipur, a cricket factory in Jalandhar and the home of sisters and singers Jyoti and Sultana Noora who she had recorded for the soundtrack of the 2008 film Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! These sights and sounds help make Sound Trippin’ more of a travel show than The Dewarists.
Yet we’re reminded that this is a show made for MTV by a number of factors. A pulsating electronica background score (provided in the Punjab episode by the use of tunes by Karsh Kale and Mumbai-based DJ Ox7gen) runs through the programme and as a result, occasionally we don’t actually hear the sounds that Khanwalkar records. Perhaps keeping in mind the attention spans of MTV’s “youth” audience (so shock-free is their viewership that they recently had a Roadies contestant undergo an enema on camera), there are points during Sound Trippin’ where we are shown so many different shots per minute that we felt the show should come with an epilepsy warning.
However, if we are to judge a music-related programme on the basis of its music, then MTV seems to be on the right track with Sound Trippin’. “Tung Tung”, the song generated out of the Punjab jaunt, is an uber-catchy melding of dubstep and Punjabi folk that club DJs are likely to add to their playlists. The tune piques our curiosity for what Khanwalkar will make out of her trips to Yellapur in Karnataka, Kanpur, Benaras and Goa.
Sound Trippin’ airs on MTV on Saturday at 8.30pm. Watch the first episode here.