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Music,Musings et al

Month: September, 2009

Music Review:Ek Niranjan(Mani Sharma)

With fab orchestration and a rocking tune,the title track is a total sizzler.Ranjith gets the drawl bang on to convey the mock anxiety and ponderance of one with no-one in this world perfectly.Gundello,with that faux classicality,impresses right of the bat.Add a brownie for the inventive programming.Sameera,sung by an efficient Karthik,and Mahammari are the usual suspects that pull this OST down-Unexciting tunes that merely make up the numbers and if possible placate the masses.Nartanatara is sheer noise with plain irritating singing and painfully overbearing music.Mani Sharma,though,finishes with a euphonious but middling Evaru Lerani;perhaps a more apt choice of singer would have made it more effective.

After the stupendous Baanam,Mani Sharma’s score for Ek Niranjan is wrapped in commerciality and adds mere functionality.

My Picks-Ek Niranjan

My Rating-One Cheer!

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Music Review:Aladin(Vishal-Shekhar)

Genie Rap(Also called Make A Wish),featuring the staccato baritone booms of the Big B(Sounds more rock starrish rather than the sober and staid Amitabh Bacchan,doesn’t it?),and Giri Giri,sung in a deliciously offkey manner by Sanjay Dutt,are suitably amateurish and enjoyable ones at that.Even though the former turns predictably boring after a while,the latter grows into a sheer delight;it’s appeal stemming from the bumbling,trying-to-be-wicked-yet-harmless villainy quality that more often than not was/is usually supplied in good measure in childhood fantasy stories to spook brash kids.O Re Saawariya,this time too featuring Bacchan,is likeable as long as it lasts creating a mini riot of sorts with the kitschy confluence of Bacchan’s gruff and Shreya Ghoshal’s velvety vocals.The abrupt and cliched choral start notwithstanding,You Maybe settles down into a neat melodious ditty,even as Vishal takes a soulful turn,a departure from his steady,heady too,dose of staple rock.Dadlani’s weathered vocals have the delectable tonal quality that traverses genres,sounding helplessly lost in romantic songs(remember Khabar Nahi),especially in the higher octaves,and grungy and grimy in rock numbers-An attribute that makes him an unassumingly versatile exponent of two seemingly contrasting genres.The pompously orchestrated and sung Tak Dhina Dhin,atleast on the surface,appears to be puerile with a tonguetwisty tune breathlessly executed by Shankar Mahadevan and reminiscent of those songs from an earlier era when the emphasis used to be on punchy hooklines and rhythm.Nevertheless it is passable and might function well within the movie.Bachke O Bachke is mediocre stuff even though it boasts of a good enough punchline,it is’t able to shake off the shadow of hackneyedness.And is it only me or does Sunidhi really sound off the boil here?

After a prolific run in 2008,which the duo ended with the succesful Dostana,Vishal-Shekhar’s first release in 2008 is par for the course but truth Aladin is underwhelming.Atleast one takes solace from the fact that it isn’t as disastrous as Bhoothnath,another OST where the Big B,well,rapped!

My Picks-You Maybe,Giri Giri

My Rating- Two Cheers!!

Music Review:London Dreams(Shankar,Ehsaan,Loy)

When Hanuman Chalisa stole the show…

With an excellent addictive hook and a high octane pacing,Barson Yaaron is a veritable delight.It combines the bouncy rock sound,something the trio have by now perfected,with their own JBJ sound.In fact the song itself is a portmanteau piece with Vishal Dadlani crooning half the song while Roop Kumar Rathod takes over in the latter half adding a more sober,soulful touch to the song(His rendition of the chalisa set to a trance like rhythm is bizarre joy).

Man Ko Ati Bhavey is admirable for it’s attempt to try something different:Those *pure* hindi lyrics along with Shankar’s trifling singing is an unabashed tribute to that rip roaring song from Padosan:Ek Chatur Naar.Not by any means extraordinary,it passes off well for it’s frivolity.

Tapkey Masti is rather staid and predictable with all those familiar techno dhol beats,although Feroz Khan’s rendition is expressive.And SEL better re-invent their choruses:the one here is done to death and comes across as juvenile in the midst of such a fervid song.Another such song that makes it presence later on is the Abhijit Ghoshal sung,Jashn Hai Jeet Ka though this is marginally better and engaging.

The opening interlude of Khanabadosh just goes to show how ingrained in our minds is Rahman’s music.Just three beats;Your heart looses control and your mind blurts Masti Ki Paathshaala.Even those three thumps point to nothing more than a subliminal moment of reminisce with realisation.And from thereon it is SEL’s effort all the way.Ostensibly the title song,it manages to strike an impressive balance between the modern rhythm patterns and the more vintage qawwali format,with latter hymn like portions taking the cake.

Khwab Jo is certainly the stuff of dreams.First up,it is a remarkable collaboration-Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shankar Mahadevan.Both brilliant singers with sound classical bases.And as is destined to happen sparks do fly-The melody is tuneful and the jugalbandi is absorbing if not arresting,with both singers,effortlessly,towering over the song making it the definitive song of the album.

The folkish Yaari Bina is an ode to friendship as is the wont of the film.Roop Kumar Rathod sings with a flourish even as the simple,sinuous tune is endearing.The entire song though extending to 4 & 1/2 minutes is encapsulated within two lengthy stanzas.

Zubeen Garg vocals have a certain exotic quality to them as was evidenced in his earlier outings as well.Here too,in Shola Shola,his vocals are the standout in a meandering song.The refrain is pathetic but the breezy interludes give it a certain elevation.

London Dreams has an uncharacteristic and partly off-colour SEL at the helm of affairs and on first impressions this seems to be a good departure from,what can be defined as, their Luck By Chance sound,which though enjoyable was getting repetitive.It indeed offers an interesting assortment of songs but fails to satisfy and satiate totally for what has been touted as a musical.

My Picks-Barso Yaaron,Khwab Jo

My Rating-Three Cheers!!!

Music Review:Tum Mile(Pritam)

Life in a Metro:Act III…

For those of you wondering what Act II was,isn’t it obvious?,here goes..It is indeed Jannat.For years now the Emraan-Pritam-Bhatt triumvirate have been delivering that one defining OST(s) of the year,albums that invariably whet the appetite of almost every music lover.This,considering the mounting expectations with each passing year in itself is an achievement par excellence.Also,for those who fail to comprehend the ostentatiously layered nuances of Rahman’s,increasingly,self actualised music,Pritam has offered a pop refuge of sorts,blending technical finesse with gorgeous melody.

Pritam also deserves praise for etching out an indelible and soulful variant of soft rock,something people were averse to,and making it a resounding success and garnering unanimous appreciation.Life in a Metro,Jannat and now Tum Mile..I hope you get the drift…

Undoubtedly the piece de resistance of the entire OST the title track,Tum Mile,is eminently listenable even with a mundane Neeraj Sridhar helming it.While synth-pop dominates in the standard offering,it is the minimally orchestrated Love Reprise Version and the anguish-angst ridden Rock Version that stand out.I particularly like Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan’s Rock version;the orchestration is poignantly done what with Pritam’s trademark wailing electric-guitar in the background as also the singer’s powerhouse vocals that bring out the desperation compellingly well.

As in most Pritam albums,KK gets the cream in this one too.The heartfelt lament of Dil Ibaadat,oozing with the composer’s familiar wistful cadence,is genuinely moving even as KK casts a spell with his captivating vocals.The desolation is complete with the dirge like O Meri Jaan.Interestingly,Pritam had earlier composed a similarly titled track for Life in a Metro,sung by KK again,though that was an out and out cheerful number.Here too,the sinuous tune is a cinch.

Tu Hi Haqeeqat begins with a splendidly imagined piece of music,with the efficacious electric guitar(?) riffs,let out like sparks from an acetylene torch,mingling with the delectable flute notes after which Javed Ali manages to whip up a fervour of emotions with his requiem rendition.

Is Jahan Mein is the only weak link of the OST if you would like to call it that.The song is mighty awkward to begin with;the backgrounds and Mohit Chauhan’s rendition just don’t gel even as you feel an icky sensation at the urgency and haste in the vocals.

The sole instrumental piece,Soul Of Tum Mile,is again piquant and manages to conjure vivid images of pervading gloom.

Pritam invokes a striking score;One that is immediately arresting in quality,profound and highly affecting.And there is a common thread that runs through the Bhatt’s soundtracks,one of depression,palpable misery and it is at play here too.When it comes to brewing tragedy,the Bhatt’s are unsurpassable.

My Picks-Tum Mile(Rock),O Meri Jaan

My Rating-Four Cheers!!!!

Music Review:Blue(AR Rahman)

If Vishal Bharadwaj had ‘fun’ making Kaminey,a film that was as much rollicking to the audience,Blue might as well end up as one effort where Rahman let his hair down.For once,he lets go of his densely layered sound of say a Delhi6 or a Guru,albums that apparently took *time* to grow on the listener and unravelled their charms incrementally,Rahman’s Blue is imbued with a heady mix of groove & thump that makes it instantly addictive.

The OST opens with the much touted and publicised Kylie Minogue number Chiggy Wiggy.Incredibly rhythmic right from the start,Minogue’s soothingly chic and marvellously fluty vocals are it’s crowning glory..i.e. till Sonu party poops and gets into the act.What starts off as delectable international pop descends into a tangled mess of stale Bhangra pop.Of course the idea cannot be faulted.It has always been our cherished dream to fuse ourselves with the West.East meeting the(or atleast trying to meet)West has been part of Bollywood’s bloodstream since eons.But a more sophisticated attempt would have been that much more palatable than this unimaginative pastiche of sorts.

Things do brighten up with the amazingly light on it’s feet Aaj Dil Gustakh that gushes in like a gust of fresh minty breeze.Rahman suffuses the track with deliciously fleeting piano-guitar notes and a hint of jazz.With Sukhvinder and Shreya in terrific form the result is an exotic interplay of sounds that are pure aural bliss.Also the rushed in vocals,mighty inventive on the part of the composer,add a layer of impatience and immediacy to the song.

Fiqrana is sheer nostalgia doused in a munificent dosage of punchy techno.The song works primarily for it’s creative use of electro funk and those strikingly Rahmanesque freestyle verses,that are underscored with bursts of racy rendition.

Rashid Ali is back,as if to remind us as to how much we missed him after Aditi,though it is not his vocals but Rahman’s filigree like detailing to the orchestration that stands out in Bhoola Tujhe.It is a wistful song alright with the mandatory and increasingly moribund sufi affliction,but the composition rises above the mundane thanks hugely to the composer’s magnificent arrangements.

Rehnuma is the stunning of all the songs from Blue.To use the adage,it is literally a bolt from the blue.But what makes it that?For starters it is not a regular number with neatly etched out antaras,mukhdas,hooklines.. whatever.It starts of with Shreya’s eerie vocals that build up gradually to the final cathartic outburst through Sonu’s devastatingly effective vocals.For me the final portions were truly hair raising…Sonu’s adrenaline drunk vocals and Rahman’s brilliantly dramatic orchestration make for a deadly combo.

Yaar Mila Tha is probably the closest Rahman gets towards the conventional.But after a round of impacting demonstration at experimental music,this one’s ends up as a routine effort although Rahman does spike it with his inventive embellishments(The cycle bell like trills et al).

The high octane Theme Music is nattily done up and works for its congregation of impressive sounds.

Rahman’s score for Blue is marked by an imperious testosterone driven yet sensible sound.

My Picks-Chiggy Wiggy(Only Minogue please!),Aaj Dil Gustakh,Rehnuma

My Rating-Three Cheers!!!

London Dreams music by SEL

After all the hoopla that Vipul Shah’s ambitious London Dreams music was being composed by Rahman,here’s the damp squib.I was shocked to see it’s promo carry the credits as Shankar Ehsaan Loy,so I did a little googling myself.And yes it’s true the music is by SEL and not Rahman!
SEL….um..hope they better than in Wake Up Sid
BTW music releasing in the third week of september.

Music Review:Banam(Mani Sharma)

I usually reserve my verdicts for the last few lines of a review but listening to this OST, I’m so ecstatically gobsmacked that I have decided to lay it out at the very start .Have no doubts, Banam is the best telugu OST to have been released this year. It is the best Mani Sharma has conjured in a long long time. And it is the rarest of albums to have gotten consistently beautiful wordings(Kudos! Vanamali and Rama Jogaiah Sastry).

Like all good soundtracks this one too has minor hitches, namely the thematic tracks Padara Padara and Charithralo. Fact is they aren’t all that bad but would rather work well when accompanied with the visuals.

That leaves us with three stunning tracks to savour on. First is the very inspirational Kadhile Padham sung, oh so rousingly by Shankar Mahadevan. It is a perfect example of the music director thinking beyond the usual *situational song*(motivational songs,usually,are situational) that would do the trick and going the whole hog to come up with an appealing number.Can’t get enough of this; the simple strumming at the start, the trippy flute throwaways, Shankar’s soaring vocals that adroitly taper off after attaining a rapturous crescendo. Breathtaking stuff. And that is one word that would be apt for Nalo Nelena also, the other gorgeous number. Silken and pulchritudinous (sorry guys!), it is sung by a Hemachandra who is so assured and poised, while wading through the dense classical nuances, that one can only stand and marvel (The song is based on the Saranga raagam(?);Nuvvena(Anand) and Andamgalena(Godavari) are built on the same). Needless to say the arrangements by Mani are wondrous, especially at the start and from thereon. Saindhavi offers able support. With simple & innocent lyrics and a characteristically saccharine sweet Shreya who breezes through serenely, Mogindi Jeganta is the icing on the cake; a pleasant ditty to add to the already overflowing gush of goodness.

Mani Sarma’s return to form is classy and smashingly orchestrated.

My Picks-Kadhile Padham,Nalo Nelena

My Rating-Four Cheers!!!!

PS:The rating was tough to give actually,but I was really blown to bits by those two songs.And in a way Mani has done something totally unexpected just when we have come to expect the usual potboiler mix.(It’s a cop movie,I surmise)His last few releases have been the least inspiring with a spate od duds.Considering all this,a pleasant surprise indeed!