Monday, June 25, 2012

Interview With Rohit Rao, Director of Ultrasonic

My interview with Rohit Rao about the movie Ultrasonic:

Local filmmaker Rohit Colin Rao, the writer/director/cinematographer/editor/composer/musician behind the remarkable film Ultrasonic sat down with BYT to talk about his second feature, a true labor of love. The film is a compelling, hypnotic homage to chiaroscuro, shot in black and white, with occasional flourishes of sepia tones, and its adept use of depth-of-field camera work recalls a certain Drive-esque sensibility. While harkening to the conspiracy-thriller aesthetics of PiUltrasonic's cinematography is not frenetic and claustrophobic. It lends itself seamlessly to the purposely-ambiguous narrative arc--the smoke and mirrors aspect of "reality" and "normalcy." Is the protagonist Simon really hearing a noise no one else can hear [ha] or is it all in his head?
Rao does a superb job of writing a script that allows that ambivalence to linger without resorting to heavy-handed, beat-the-audience-over-the-head tactics. Ultrasonic is a story of one man's isolation and a testament to tenuous nature of reality. It's engrossing and moody but never sinister. Rao's love for DC is palpable in his selection of locations to shoot--with nary a "DC landmark" in sight, this is what our city really looks like at night, with shadows moving in waves, falling away then taking over. The brilliant soundtrack adds an extra element to the milieu, the hum inside Simon's head resembling the undercurrent of threat that underpins the film.


Monday, June 11, 2012

ReadySetDC June Monthly Mixtape

Interview/Feature. June Monthly Mixtape:

This month’s Monthly Mixtape is from Jangala DJ, a DC native behind the trail-blazing Temporal Fusion podcast, which showcases talented electronic dance music producers and DJs from around the world. Jangala, along with long-time co-conspirator Xunfusion, has been on a mission to expose unknown deejays and producers to a wider audience Temporal Fusion‘s seven year reign is a testament to its draw of a true “head” audience with a voracious appetite for drum’n'bass, glitch hop, hip hop, dubstep, and trip hop.
When Jangala DJ first added me as a friend on Facebook, his profile picture was that of a shell (not to mention he is so humble, I had to convince him to actually send me a picture of himself for the article). The shell was a reference to a poem about “the shell of jangala.” In Hindi, jangal means forest–appropriate reference for the offshoot/kind of drum’n'bass music known as jungle. The metaphor of the shell always stayed with me–Jangala’s style has an organic echo and resonance to it and his flair for chiaroscuro is palpable here. This set starts out sort of quietly ominous and brightens up as the sun shining through the leaves of a forest. Few drum’n'bass DJs are able to freely pick from the many branches of the genre’s tree, usually staying grounded in one style, but Jangala has a facility and an unique talent in that regard.
“I mixed this with a thoughtful attitude, wanting to harmonize the dark and light; the old and new; the masculine and feminine; the complex and simple. Mixed together in this set are tunes from new school d’n'b badboys like Dub Phizix, Roy Green, Protone, and DatA along with up-and-coming Russia producers Nuage, Getz, Z Connection, topped off with smatterings of Dillinja and Ray Keith for nostalgia and a sense of completeness.”
“Now settled in DC, I have spent a greater part of my life split between the East and the West and have finally been able to embrace the contrasting and contradictory nature of the universe by mixing heavy baselines and effervescent drum beats.”
Check out his exclusive boundary and genre-defying set for ReadySetDC here and open your ears up to the sounds of the shell of Jangala.