It was in this seat where he said he likes to write music that breaks down language barriers and speaks to people directly, using only sound.
Kulkarni is an IU senior who has played multiple instruments since he was 4 years old.
He has been working on his upcoming debut album, “Synesthetic,” since July. The album is produced by recording artist John Adorney and features more than 50 instruments, both electronic and acoustic.
The title of the album comes from the term “synesthesia,” which Kulkarni said he was strongly influenced by when producing his music.
Kulkarni defined synesthesia as a neurological phenomenon where two senses in your head are connected in a way they are not necessarily supposed to be.
“When I hear music, I see colors,” Kulkarni said. “Every melody has a distinct color, and I also feel textures from instruments. When I am writing a piece, I really get submerged by the colors, shapes, textures and all that imagery that my brain is providing me, and I use it strongly to guide and influence what I am ?writing.”
He has created his own contemporary instrumental style music using instruments and sounds from around the world, according to his website, ? nitishkulkarni.com .
“When breaking it down to its fundamental attributes, my music is instrumental because the instruments are the main voices, and it is contemporary because it is not particularly classical but not necessarily pop or rock since it evolves with the times,” Kulkarni said.
As an IU student, Kulkarni first majored in business before he decided to create an individualized major.
His major specializes in musical instruments and sound and how they combine to produce emotional responses. He also created his own radio show through IU’s student radio station, WIUX.
“My time at IU has really allowed me to be exposed to things I have never been exposed to before,” Kulkarni said. “Bloomington is where everything started since it offered me the creative space to think and find out what shaped my music.”
His new instrumental single, “Mermaid,” will be released exclusively on Spotify on Sept. 16 and is the first track from the album. It is a very easy track to listen to, Kulkarni said.
“‘Mermaid’ is a song that uses a lot of guitars backed with many effects creating a club beat but mixed with clarinets, flutes and mallet percussions,” Kulkarni said. “It is an easy-to-get-along-to track since it has an ?interesting blend of ethnic cultures.”
He produced music before coming to IU and kept it up, writing a whole series of musical material. Ten of his produced pieces will be on his album.
Kulkarni produces his instrumental music by combining different instruments not normally played alongside each other. This process often involves instruments from many different cultures around the world.
“The liberty of being a listener to instrumental music is there’s not words in the songs that tell you what it’s about, but instead the music speaks to you and says whatever it wants to you,” Kulkarni said. “I want to point the listener in the right direction and give them an idea of what it’s about, but I don’t want to tell them so much that they can no longer create their own specific imagery or message from it.”
The record label’s distributor is aiming for a January 2015 release for the album on his website, Amazon and iTunes, among other outlets.
For Kulkarni, the release of his first album has been decades in the making.
When he was young, Kulkarni would drum on anything he could get his hands on. His mother would always put on cassettes, and he would listen and play along with them.
He grew up playing the tabel drum, playing pieces that were associated with his Indian heritage. In high school, he stayed active musically by rehearsing and performing at concerts.
“I always had a musical mind. It’s always been a part of me, and when I went to high school and college, I knew I didn’t want to get away from it,” Kulkarni said. “I think being surrounded by both my native Indian music and American music, which was foreign to me, and being able to incorporate both of these styles into my music is the major driving force which has kept me going and let me explore many new things.”
One of Kulkarni’s main musical influences is professional contemporary musician and composer Yanni. He credits Yanni for helping him find his voice and style when he first dabbled in ?composing.
“When I first listened to his music, it created an explosion in my head that opened all of these ideas and influences that let me produce four to five albums worth of material,” Kulkarni said. “When you get influenced so much by one person, it’s hard to ignore their influences in your own music, so I started off by imitating Yanni’s style along with Indian elements with my music.”
After his time at college, Kulkarni said he aims to continue composing and performing music. He said he is excited for the release of his new single and album and hopes to impress listeners with his personalized music style.
“What pleases me most about the record is how it doesn’t sound like a copy of anything else out there,” Kulkarni said. “With the instruments I have chosen and the way I went about recording them, it sounds very unique and fresh on the ears.”