Golconda explores themes of multiplicity and unity, decay and renewal in the context of Islamic philosophy, history and architecture. Based on a poem by contemporary Urdu poet Jameela Nishat, this piece incorporates Nishat’s reflection on the fading glory of the city of Hyderabad. Founded as the capital of the Deccan region of India in 1591 by the Qutub Shahi kings, Hyderabad is now being reborn as a hub of India’s burgeoning IT economy.
The poem, read by the author, is woven into the sound space following unfolding lines of arabesque geometry. Field recordings from Hyderabad, including ambient spaces from the ruins of Golconda fort referred to in the poem, and the sounds of the liminal community developing along the highway leading to the city’s new international airport, anchor the text between the receding past and the approaching future.
Underpinning the piece is the chanted Arabic word “Hu” meaning simply “is” or “existence”. The arabesque patterns which describe the movement of the individual sound objects were a frequent feature of Islamic architecture in Hyderabad, and serve as a form of meditation on the void, playing with positive and negative space, and leading the listener through the complex iterations mirrored in the maze-like bazaar of the Old City before emerging into the inner courtyards of mosques, temples and palaces – the Irfanic spaces of contemplation.
This piece is designed for 4 channel playback. A stereo version is available for streaming below. Please contact us if you are interested in the multi-channel version.