When Japan-origin, Auroville music composer and multidisciplinary artist Jyoti Naoki Eri first discovered the existence of ‘The Voyager Golden Records’ from 1977, he says it was “astonishing”. The records featured sounds and images representing life and culture on Earth, in the hope that an extra-terrestrial life may come across it and better understand our planet.
“The imagination of the people to consider this totally different level of communication, without any expectation of concrete result filled me with wonder. It taught me something important about art and even attitude of life,” says Eri who has studied art all his life, majorly delving into sculpting and training under various scholars including his artist parents.
Since 2005, he’s been staying in Auroville teaching art and design, but he’s recently launched his label Nādāsana with the curation of its first compilation album ‘Inter-Galactic Sonar Communication Probe Vol.1’.
Released in July, it ties together the artist’s spiritual philosophies, his love for ambient music and his childhood fascination with space exploration. The “worldwide project” as Eri terms it, features 11 artists from around the world who have created 13 ambient tracks (including two bonus tracks). The concept is inspired by The Voyager Golden Records, adapting it to a not-too-distant future of the year 2102.
Nādāsana is described as “an intergalactic sonic research laboratory” and “has launched their first sonic space probe mission into the majestic galaxy, Messier 31 – The Andromeda Galaxy”. Eri clarifies that he’s not actually trying to launch this music into space, but is open to collaborate with scientists, engineers and agencies. “We still have 80 years to the launch of our first probe,” he smiles. “I think it is possible.”
Space ambitions notwithstanding, Nādāsana is going to be a vehicle in constant motion for Eri. The label was originally intending to launch as a sub-label under a dance music label based out of New Delhi. “I began preparing a label concept and logos, etc, but the friend got very busy with his personal projects and we eventually decided that I would independently run the label,” explains Eri. “Although starting my own label was one of my dreams in terms of creative work, I think that without his invitation I probably wouldn’t have considered starting a label at that point in time.”
Ambient music has for long been among Eri’s interests, even as he explored everything from punk to hip-hop to drum and bass and techno. However, collaboration is the core motivation to start Nādāsana. “For this label, I have the intention to create a link with spirituality,” he explains. “Some label ambient music as New Age music, but I cannot relate to this labelling.”
Eri is also aware that as niche as the music might be, the label and artists do not exist in a vacuum. In fact, a bigger goal has been set in sight. “I wish to challenge the existing music industry with a very different attitude. Nādāsana is small but it has some attitude. My scope of growth for Nādāsana is unique. I want this label to be remembered in the future,” he says.
‘Inter-Galactic Sonar Communication Probe Vol.1’ serves as the artist’s “small example” of unity in diversity and Eri says he will continue with this approach of global and local artists on his label.
Coming up next
A second volume will be Eri’s next project for Nādāsana, featuring an entirely different line-up. It’s tentatively slated for release in 2023 and will be followed by a remix project of two previous albums. Although he’s not giving away the concept of the next compilation just yet, Eri says he’s certain that artists will like it. Beyond that is Eri’s guiding instinct to “progressively merge” art and design projects with music as they all run parallel to each other.
Whether within India or outside given his global experience, the artist plans to keep the label collaborative. All of these plans are not necessarily set to a hard deadline, something that is understandable given the kind of music Eri is working under the moniker Atomic Phantom and with the label Nādāsana. “I want to take time to grow and I have no reason to be in a hurry. But I sincerely hope us to be in a better position to give back to the artists who contributed their music,” he says.
Listen to Inter-Galactic Sonar Communication Probe Vol.1 here