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Imagine a place where Indian classical folk traditions collide into the fringes of electronic music. Where the laid back space of dub reggae meets the energy of bass rattling dancefloors. This is the contoured landscape San Francisco based DJ and Producer Janaka Selekta evokes with his debut album, Pushing Air, out on the new label Chaiwalla’s Boombox on July 6, 2010.
Janaka’s upbringing is almost as diverse as his music, being born in Sri Lanka, raised in the United Kingdom and Kuwait, and now residing in the Bay Area. Pushing Air is a result of his blood, sweat, and tears through breakups, healings, and discovery throughout the past few years. The album was shaped on the road from SF to Chicago to NYC to the UK to India to Sri Lanka and back again. The outcome is an album that pushes a wall of sound forward never staying constant to one style or genre. It’s like you’ve travelled with Janaka on his journeys in each song. The SF Weekly broke it down by stating, “The album opens with “End of the Sun,”… soothing organ and elegant strings set up an ornate atmosphere before giving way to a midtempo, tabla-based beat progression. Tracks like “Awake” — featuring Chicago vocalist JC Stokes — “Bring the Curtain Down,” and “Anklets” layer melancholy vocals with haunting melodies and the slow punch of deep dub bass tones.” The Weekly continued by describing, “The Escapist” blends sweeping strings from traditional Indian instruments bansuri and sarangi with crisp drum ‘n’ bass breaks. The album ends with the spiritually uplifting “Nomadic,” which layers Hema Ram’s evocative vocals over a percolating beat.” The album features other notable guests including Asian Dub Foundation’s Dr. Das, Riffat Sultana, and Salar Nadar.
Janaka has been cutting his teeth in the music industry for quite some time as a co-founder of SF’s popular, but now defunct Dhamaal Sound System. The collective threw some of the largest South Asian-Electronic-Mashup events in the Bay Area and produced a very successful album to international acclaim even getting support from the legendary John Peel. Janaka’s stellar production work on the Dhamaal album also led him to producing music for the hit X-Box game “Project Gotham,” as well as countless remixes for such highly notable artists like Karsh Kale (Six Degrees), Cheb i Sabbah (Six Degrees), and the Asian Dub Foundation. Besides his music production, Janaka’s skillful DJing and dynamic sets have taken him around the world headlining festivals and club nights and earning him praise and “Best DJ” awards in his hometown.
Janaka Selekta’s Album
“Shards of dubstep, breaks, hip-hop, & drum & bass shine through, but the tone and mood are classically South Asian, with a solid dollop of dub,
resulting in a gorgeous evolution of this longstanding tradition.’ – Derek Beres, The Huffington Post
“Janaka’s new album blows me away with its rich textures, depth and soulful intent. Nearly 10 years in the making, it was worth the wait.” – Nerm, Electro East BBC Radio 1
“Brainchild of the San Francisco Dhamaal crew; enriches our listening experience with an emotional debut delight!” – Pathaan, BBC Asian Network/Globetronica/Liquid Sound
“I was totally taken aback by the maturity and depth of his forthcoming debut artist album, Pushing Air” – Bob Duskis Six Degrees Records, San Francisco
“Pushing Air helps us to breathe in the latest in wicked Asian wonders. Janaka Selekta at his finest.” – Cheb I Sabbah Six Degrees Records
“Pushing Air is absolutely brilliant!” – Bobby Friction BBC Radio 1 & BBC Asian Network
www.huffingtonpost.com/derek-beres/global-beat-fusion-ethnot_b_226384.html, – The Huffington Post
turns-massive-breakups-into-meditative-debut/ – SFWeekly
www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/19/DDHC16H7IU.DTL – The San Francisco Chronicle
www.microsoft.com/isapi/redir.dll?prd=ie&ar=windows – The San Francisco Examiner
www.youtube.com/user/LUXVIBES#p/search/0/C7ob6Ca-jcM – Howierd Street Fair
www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Iz3wZ8kfsw – Harmony Festival