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08/21/2018
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Turning Jewels Into Water: The new voodoo bass duo that will shake your neurons

This act of percussion is focused on the current black rhythms and the post-digital world.
n recent decades we have seen a long advance of bass proliferate in electronics. From the IDM - that intelligent dance music label that refers to the sophisticated proposal of the late 90s - to the regional rhythms recontextualized on dancefloors, and dubstep. The bass has earned its place in the shelf of electronic production.

It is said that these genres have experienced their apogee in a dramatically fast and ephemeral way, compared to genres such as jazz, where this cycle could last 5 decades. In the bass we may have seen it over a period of five years. The offer is great, but what else could bass music offer?

Turning Jewels Into Water is the bet of Ravish Momin, who after years of incessant search from a syncopated context, he met Val Jeanty in a residence last year, which led to a spontaneous and special dynamic to create and produce live music.
And just as Ravish Momin has made a career in Indian music and jazz, Val Jeanty (or Val Inc) has a track record of at least 20 years in sound engineering, experimentation, percussive rhythms, and performing performances in most prestigious museums in New York.

Together, like Turning Jewels Into Water, they create a microcosm that gives a breath of freshness to the black rhythms that permeate current electronics and the post-digital universe.

Ravish Momin and Val Jeanty told us about their emergence as a duo, some future plans and even gave us a small list of remixers that will be on their long-playing album, having debuted with the EP Which Way is Home? Check out what they told us below.

NOISEY: How was Turning Jewels Into Water formed and started? Is it true that there was a particular event that led to the creation of the duo?
Ravish Momin: This new project with Val Jeanty, composer, percussionist and turntabist, arose thanks to her participation in an improvisation session in the studio of Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, New York. I was doing an artistic residency there in September of 2017 and had invited several artists with different influences within experimental, electronic, jazz and world music. Some collaborations were successful and others not so much.

However, the jam with Val was an immediate hit. We had both been exploring separately combining acoustic instruments with electronics, and therefore the union was very natural.

Val, we know that you are an experienced turntabist and sound engineer. You could tell us a little about your origin, how it has influenced living in New York and your previous projects.
Val Jeanty: I was born and raised in Haiti. I'm the granddaughter of a voodoo priest. Occide Jeanty is my great-uncle, so integrating our culture in the present, from the traditional to the electronic, is in my blood.

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Living in New York has opened my eyes and ears to the digital world. Some of my past projects are collaborations with different artists: Geri Allen , Katalog One, Dancing The Divine, Terri Lyne Carrington , the Kris Davis trio and I was also an audio engineer for important jazz characters like Wadada Leo Smith, as well as Anthony Braxton.

There was some search to dissolve the lines between jazz and take the step towards something more electronic. Could you tell us a little about that process? Has it been satisfactory on a personal level?
Ravish Momin: Being honest, it was a very organic change. I put a lot of energy and work into my most jazzy project, Tarana, over the last 14 years and it felt like an effort to get the promoters to call an electronic jazz project. I felt simply exhausted.

Now I understand that I was confusing people, since they did not know which parts were live, which were sampled or repeated in a loop. In addition to that there is still some resistance in jazz with respect to electronic beats.

With Turning Jewels Into Water, the whole process was transparent and since we were both working with electronics in its majority, that was a factor that made me play differently.

So yes, it has been satisfying to continue growing as an artist and progress with respect to the musical experiences of the past.

The concept of the project seems to be a great musical and cultural hybrid. Influences are perceived from afrosoul to cosmic sounds and electronic music. Do you consider that it is the result of the current context or something that could impact it?
Ravish Momin : Val's style comes from the voodoo religion as a recreation of ancient rhythms and Haitian pulses through digital beats; while I have also developed an electro-acoustic approach inspired by my Hindu roots. Together, we explore the capabilities of new technologies to create a mix between multiple electronic and acoustic instruments.

This project seems to touch on dystopian and alchemical themes. The name Turning Jewels Into Water is allusive to the state of the world? Could water become the new gold?
Ravish Momin: The name of the band comes from the idea that in the near future, drinking water will become a comfort and luxury due to the impacts of climate change.

Yes, water will be the new gold. It is already happening, because many places have droughts and lack of water; Control over water supplies could be a serious and deadly business.

How do you feel about this first EP and being a new act? Do you think you can continue pushing borders talking musically?
Ravish Momin: I'm very excited about this first EP, which is also my first release on vinyl.

The music is strong and remains attached to the idea of ​​something "old for the future" in a very real way. We have had the blessing of getting the attention of developers in the United States and Europe, which led us to have a successful tour for 3 weeks in countries such as Croatia, Switzerland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Italy in May.

At the same time, my recordings over the last 15 years have been very varied: I get bored if I stay doing the same, so without a doubt the idea is to keep looking for new musical inspirations as well as not to fear experimentation with new technologies that our sound can evolve.

We know that they are already working on a new full-length album. Could you tell us a little about this new music?
Ravish Momin: Information travels fast! After turning around, Val and I have a deeper understanding of our respective styles and have created pieces with more layers as well as nuances.

I have expressed my inspirations about the new music organically, same as DJ Lag, Nidia Minaj, Andy Stott , Nihiloxica and Ivy Lab. We also have tracks influenced by G'com and Kuduro, as well as tracks of Hungarian and Rajasthani folk music, dancehall and more.

We will also have the fortune of having incredible remixes of Slikback (Kampala), Nueve Vidas (Mexico City), PlayPlay (New York) and Basitengoat (Oakland), covering a broad spectrum of electronic music.

Will they come to Mexico in the near future?
Ravish Momin: Definitely! We have visited with previous projects and now comes the time to share these new sounds with the Mexican public, which in general seems very open and perceptive, so we plan to do a tour in early 2019.