Ankur Malhotra  
Having a good time at Movement (DEMF) 2007, Detroit
As a kid growing up in India, I was fortunate enough to have parents who enjoyed listening to music and who let me have at it with the record player and the reel-to-reel in the basement. 

The music on those 33’s/45’s and spools was a mix of sometimes familiar tunes from Hindi films of the 50’s and 60’s (my dad’s favorites), at other times strange yet haunting tunes like Mexican mariachi band music and Hugo Montenegro’s Western Film Themes. There were legendary playback singers and musicians such as Rafi, Hemant Kumar, Asha Bhonsle, Geeta Dutt, S.D. Burman, and son R.D., a doyen of funk in Indian cinema.

There was also ‘Western music’ – The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Santana… music from the 60’s and 70’s passed on to me by parents and their friends. Hush and One More Rainy Day (from Deep Purple: Singles A’s and B’s, my first rock album) are songs that got etched into my memory at an early age. This exposure to a wide variety of music, coupled with the funk and disco themed music that dominated the film music of the 70’s and early 80’s was probably what started my lifelong affair with music. It’s a pity that so few of those wonderful records from childhood have survived the conditions of time and harsh treatment suffered at my hands.

CD’s in play: 

Agaric – Who Made Up The Rules (2011)
Cat Power – The Greatest (2006)
Bombino – Agadez (2010)
Neil Young – Down By The River/Live at The Paramount, Oakland CA (1999)
Low – A Lifetime of Temporary Relief/B Sides and Rarities (2004)
Clinton – Disco & The Halfway To Discontent (2000)
Agoria – Balance (2010)
Rubblebucket- Rubblebucket (2009)
Nightmares on Wax – Smokers Delight (1995)
The Sea and Cake – The Fawn (1997)
Grant Lee Buffalo – Fuzzy (1993)

Vinyl in rotation: 

The Sea and Cake – The Moonlight Butterfly (2011)
Chet Baker – Once Upon A Summertime (1980)
Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out (2000)
Kenny Larkin – Keys, Strings & Tambourines (2008 )
Cult Cargo: Belize City Boil Up (2008)
Galaxie 500 – This Is Our Music (1990/2009)
Skip James – Devil Got My Woman (1968)
Dead Mans Hand – Poker Flat Recordings Vol.6 (2008)
Low + Dirty Three – In The Fishtank 7 (2001)
Yo La Tengo – Popular songs (2009)
Cowboy Junkies – Trinity Session (1993)
Marbert Rocel – Speed Emotions (2007)

With hardly any TV growing up – there was one government-run TV channel (broadcast hours 6am-10pm) with shows like I Love Lucy reruns from the 50’s, BBC’s Wild Planet on Sunday mornings (with David Attenborough’s calming yet exciting narration), Chitrahaar (a prime-time Saturday evening program featuring Bollywood film hits), and the bulk of programming devoted to farmer-friendly shows that discussed stuff such as protecting the cotton crop from Bol weevils and the optimal harvest time for wheat. In fact, color TV’s were a novelty in our neighborhood in Delhi as recently as 1980. This left plenty of time to listen to music and twiddling the dials on my shortwave radio to tune into English language broadcasts such as Voice of America and BBC.

Live shows and concerts were also in perpetual drought. My first concert was in Delhi in 1988 when the Amnesty International Tour featuring Youssou N’Dour, Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, Sting and Bruce Springsteen rocked the Indian capital for a dusk to dawn show. I guess when it rains it pours! My next show was six years later – Jethro Tull in Bangalore in 1993.

Fast-forward to 1999, when I get to Madison, Wisconsin where I soon start catching up for lost time. Within my first few months in town, I had been to see The Flaming Lips tour The Soft Bulletin at The Barrymore and Yo La Tengo play songs from And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out at the Regent Annex. I grooved to Richie Hawtin spin at The Cardinal Bar. I was surprised by a professor at school with a ticket to go see Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young at the Marcus in Milwaukee. And the first trip to Alpine Valley to go see Bob Dylan and Phil Lesh and Friends tear it down. Those shows were the turning point and there was no looking back!

Settled in Madison since, I have been busy building up my collection of CD’s and records and indulging myself in my hi-fi hobby. My wife calls it a disease/drug, depending on the money/time spent and my general uselessness around the house. I have a preference for the ‘tube’ sound, hence vintage vacuum tubes abound in my amplifier, pre-amp and yes, my CD player.

Ankur's listening room hi-fi

The hi-fi: Impulse Lali horn loaded speakers, made in England, circa 1993; Rega P25 turntable with RB600 tonearm, made in England, Dynavector 10×4 II cartridge, made in Japan; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD Player, modified in Holland; Magus MFA C tube pre-amplifier with phono stage, made in U.S.A. circa 1992; ‘Silk’ modified Dynaco SCA 35 tube amplifier, circa 1964; Rega Mira 3 solid state integrated amp; homebrewed Cardas speaker cables; WireWorld Eclipse III interconnects; assorted power cables, tubes.

I also dabble a bit with turntables and a mixer. Though I have been playing music at house parties ever since high school, it was only in 2005 when I first began spinning records at parties and venues. And 2007 was the year when I got myself a pair of Technics 1200’s with a basic two-channel Denon mixer (somehow I got Basic Channel in there :)…. I digress).  Going by the moniker of Spin Cycle, my taste in DJ music spans genres and decades.  though I am partial to Afrobeat, funk, and Detroit Electro Techno. Jazz, soul, groove, blues and 80’s also get a fair share of disc play. My 2010 resolution is to get some of my mixes online for everyone to enjoy. Meanwhile, you can hear me produce an eclectic mix of tunes every Friday morning on WORT 89.9 FM’s 8 o’clock Buzz (streaming online here).

Current projects:
Amarrass Records: an independent world and heritage music label
Musique Electronique: a 3 day electronic music showcase in Madison in July 2011
Manganiyars on tour in 2012/2013

Recent memorable shows:


Bassnectar @ The Majestic, Nov 2009
Pretty Lights @ The Majestic, Oct 2009
Steve Bug @ Electric Zoo, NYC, Sep 2009
Low @ High Noon Saloon, Forward Music Festival, Sep 2009
Wilco @ 10,000 Lakes Festival, Jul 2009
Vieux Farka Toure @ Yahara Waterfront Festival, Jun 2009
Movement 2009 @ Detroit, May 2009
Linsey Alexander @ The Frequency, Chicago Blues Tuesdays, Mar 2009
White Rabbits @ The High Noon Saloon, April 2009
Movement 2010: Plastikman, Stacey Pullen, Rob Hood… @ Detroit, May 2010
Ian Lehman @ The High Noon Saloon, June 2010
The Manganiyar Seduction @ Purana Qila, Delhi, India November 2010
Movement 2011: Chris Liebing, Speedy J/Collabs 3000, Martin Buttrich, Traversable Wormhole, Dubfire, Reference… @ Detroit, May 2011

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And some camera and recording gear that has been catching my fancy…
Nikon D7000 16.2MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR with 3.0-Inch LCD and 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED Nikkor Lens

QuickBooks Pro 2011 [Download]