Talvin Singh’s Anokha

In between delivering cutting edge event production using advanced digital and communication technologies, the HyperJAM team led by Derek Richards, worked as VJs on a variety of club nights in the nineties and noughties. On large scale nights we utilised our production design and event management skills to provide innovative design and production solutions for club clients including world renowned musician and initiator of the Asian Underground scene, Talvin Singh and his record label Anokha.

Derek Richards worked as VJ on Talvin’s Anokha club night from its inception in the intimate basement of the legendary Blue Note in Hoxton, also home to Anokha’s Drum n Bass cousin, Goldie’s Metalheadz.

When Anokha moved to the 2,500 capacity super-club Fabric for 10pm to 6am Saturday night sessions, HyperJAM was presented with a challenge: How to maintain and extend the culturally specific immersive impact of the dynamic interactive visuals we’d been creating live for a 4 hour night for the previous two years across 3 rooms and the spaces in between them for 8 hours without blowing the bank on equipment and (VJ) personnel.

In the end we worked the night with just two VJs. We premiered the new set on the 14th April 2000. It represented a convergence of analogue and digital tech; organic and synthetic, in a way that was synonymous with Anokha’s identity.

We dragged out our collection of old slide projectors and sent a number of digitally prepared images to print at a local bureau. Inserted into each slide projector was a single slide of a traditional or contemporary Indian artwork. Chila Kumari Burman contributed work one month. These works were projected onto thin translucent gauze in corridors, stairwells and in the ‘ambient chill out’ space of Room 3.

The slide projectors were also used to project the programme for each room on to the club’s signature brick walls. Using Bollywood typography and layout, these were designed so that they would look like weathered Bollywood film posters age-worn into the walls.
Bombay Beats room

Our last slide projector beamed the Anokha logo onto sheets of muslin hung across the front of the stage in Room 2. Aware of the exhibitionistic nature of some of our audience and the movement style of many of them, Derek harnessed their physical creativity to contribute to the visuals in that room. The muslin was back lit by gobo lights and, a few at a time, clubbers were invited to dance behind the muslin (between the lights and the fabric), painting their animated silhouettes onto the screen.

Finally Room 1, where the full on Drum n Bass was being played all night, was where we set up with the computer, VTRs and video mixer for VJ sets from Derek Richards aka r[h]izomorph and then HyperJAM apprentice, later award winning celebrity VJ, Oli Sorenson aka VJ Anyone.

With the creative and cost-effective approach taken to production design throughout the venue, HyperJAM was able to deliver 8 hours of atmospheric and dynamic interactive visuals across 3 rooms and the transitional spaces between them – consolidating and extending the Anokha brand in the process.

Incidentally, we sold out every night.

Video soundtrack: “Technology” by The Nasha Experience.

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