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Queen – Music Review

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An abridged version of the review first appeared here http://www.timeoutmumbai.net/music/cd-review/album-review-queen

Amit Trivedi teams up with the lyricst Anvita Dutt to give us the music of Phantom films’ Kangna Ranaut – Raj Kumar Rao starrer Queen.

True to the film’s theme, London Thumakda starts in Punajbi celebration mood and Labh janjua doesn’t miss a single beat in giving us a foot tapping song. Neha and Sonu Kakkar sing along as well. Even in this done to death genre of punjabi wedding/celebration songs, Amit Trivedi experiments. The excellent use of back up vocals and punjabi words in between are refreshing. Badra bahar features Amit Trivedi behind the microphone amidst a cluttered music setting. Somehow the song and the music comes across as ‘heard before’ and even though it might sound ‘trippy’ thanks to a clever use of Sitar in between, the song is at best average. O Gujaria starts with a club setting and techno sound. Shefali Alvares and Nikhil D’Souza try their best with whatever they are given, tune and lyrics wise. Frankly, the ‘Show me how to party’ bit sounds irritating in a song marred by it’s predictable overalls.

Taake Jhaanke gets the romantic Arijit Singh to croon on a (we repeat) Amit trivedi template. The song has an easy feel but ends up sounding like a very recent outing of Amit Trivedi (Remember English Vinglish?). Jugni starts very nicely and Amit Trivedi sings a peppy number which (again!) sounds like a song straight out of the folder titled ‘Udaan’. We have heard so much of Amit trivedi that you can almost second guess the turns in the tune and treatment. Harajaiyaan has a mysterious sound right from the beginning and even though you feel you have heard this song before, it’s the voice quality of Nandini Srikar that elevates the song. Creativity within the walls of Amit trivedi’s now standardized garden  has worked in this case.

Kinare has the brilliant Mohan Kannan on the mic and while we cannot get enough of Mohan Kannan, we would have liked to hear a song that doesn’t sound like one out of the album Udaan again! The song is good no doubt, just not something new. Ranjha that features a near silent music arrangement with solid vocals of Rupesh Kumar Ram is a song that will make you long for more, just like Heer longed for Ranjha. How we wished this was more than a 2 minute piece! There is a distinct smell of melody in this song that we cannot get enough of!

The makers are clearly depending on the new found oomph of Kangna Ranaut for this film. We would have liked them to stretch the limits of the Amit Trivedi who still remains Bollywood’s most promising music director.

So which song reminds us of what? Read On…

Badra bahar – Dev D as a whole. More So the O Pardesi treatment
Harjayeyaa – Dil dhuduk dhuduk beats From English Vinglish + Main Pareshaan Pareshaan Feel overall
O Gujaria – Ek main aur ek tu title song, O templates!
Taake jhaanke – English vinglish title song and the album
Jugni  – Udaan
Kinare – Udaan Udaan Udaan!

Our Picks – Ranjha, London Thumakda and Harjaiyan

(If 2 out of 3 songs are traditional template song and the third one is a mash up of something we have already heard, you can imagine the album’s score on ‘innovative’ index. Come On Amit Trivedi, Jazz it up with Bombay Velvet soon!)

2.00/5.00 (If you are looking for rating) 🙂

Somrass – Pankaj Awasthi – Review…almost!

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Pankaj Awasthi is one of the strongest voices we have in our music scene. Some of his previous work can be found herehere and here. His characteristic shiver in the loud alaaps pierce right through your soul. Do try to catch up on some of his work if you have time.

You can listen to this album here

Be it the raw and almost crude ‘Ab ka huiye bhaiyya’ or a rusty ‘Dhadke jaa’, two songs very varied mood wise or be it the kabir inspired ‘Bulbula’, Pankaj awasthi exploits his naturally powerful voice with consummate ease. It’s actually a treat to hear his typical loud alaap in dhadke jaa. You do feel that he had a fun outing especially when singing ‘ab ka huiye bhaiyya’ though.

At first sounding a little out of sync ‘Guinyan’ will draw you into emptiness of the world thanks to extremely powerful lyrics and some intoxicating guitar play. The kid voices towards the end aren’t very clear but just enough to leave a mark on your senses, a good one that is.

Lafzon ke guldastey is a lightly arranged song with main focus on the voice. Very evening like, ‘by the balcony, with guitar and wine’ sort of arrangement. Heart breaking lyrics, sung beautifully. This is not leaving my playlist for a long time. Surely.

World tour pe ‘Makhi’ nikli! Heavy guitars and lyrics filled with irony (mixed with those alaaps of Pankaj that make you sit tight and take notice), this one packs a delicious take on a lot of us, ‘career’ and ‘padhaku’ types. Hear it to know more. (Don’t let the ‘le kar tujhko jaunga dulhan, anan fanan’ sort of tempo distract you)

Mere bhai ki ek kavita – The shortest piece of the album and my favorite. Don’t be surprised if you feel a sudden adrenaline rush when you hear this. The arrangement is top class. The impact, WONDERFUL!

Ruswaiyan – The beauty of this song is that it makes you want to gently sway to the tune and this new age singing style of Pankaj. Lyrics wise, the most ‘by the template of typical album’ sort of song. A little love, a little anger towards life and a lot of melody. Must hear.

Sabun – meaning ‘soap’. Another song that speaks of rinsing the world clean. The way the lines are weaved and spaced in the composition speaks of the genius of this man. The theme of the song will sound tiring to a lot of us but you will be surprised at how early the song ends.This song has the trademark ‘Shiver’ of Pankaj awasthi when he takes alaap, by the way. The video of this song can be found here

Somrass – The lightest (lyrics and treatment wise) song of the album. A catchy tune (yes, I am not able to recognise which tune is this, can you help?), bit of bollywood like sound actually. If publicised well, this could be a college anthem by the way. Yes, too cool. Must hear this, once.

Yada Yada hi dharmasya – Electronica! is it? It sure is digital sound at it’s loudest best! Add an element of finality in Pankaj awasthi’s voice and powerful words and you get this superb track! The moment you feel that the words are running out of tune you will again be arrested by the shivering voice of Pankaj conveying how the world will continue to suffer thanks to petty fights. The beauty of composition is that the song is titled ‘yada yada hi dharmasya’ but it is not used as a ‘hook’. This phrase comes towards the end of the song and leads the song towards finish.Not for everyone but those who will like the song, won’t let this song go off playlist. Word.

Zindagi Reit hai – Another song which is very ‘word heavy and instrument light’. The words are insightful, the arrangement very fragile and voice of Pankaj a tad softer than the rest of the songs of this album. Range is not a problem with him, quite evidently.

The pick of the album is the…entire album!

Pop/alternative/non-bollywood is a genre that hasn’t delivered much in the recent years, thanks to recycled tunes on auto pilot while the composers continued faking accents in public about how their work is so tough. Thank God for Pankaj! In a space filled with bollywood mix albums and wannabe sufis (who don’t understand ‘S’ of sufi, by the way), here is an unputdownable album that plays with electronica, kabir, veer rass, jazz and so many other variations!

It’s a well established fact that our neighbors have a far better and promising ‘pop’ scene and they keep churning out excellent talent. This album is what our neighbors would wish they had produced. This is the sound of Indi-pop that is different and will last. Should last.

100 out of 10 for this gem of an album!

Aiyyaa – Meezik review!

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Wakda – Excellent Morchang starts the song with the mridangam joining in later and superb nadaswaram leading the way for Amit Trivedi (who is now joined by the keyboards as well, by the way). A song talking about the ‘inevitable’. The song has a leisurely pace occassionally lifted by nasaswaram and a lot of tabla and harmonium. A marriage song by all means. Will grow on repeated listening. There is a good amount of brass band towards the end also and it is just fabulous!

What to do – Starts with Sarod, goes on for a minute giving you an impression of a very soulful ‘serious’ song and then, Sneha Khanwalkar (Yey!!) goes behind the microphone and gets down and suggestive immediately! Amitabh bhattacharya with a very typical nasal (Not racist I hope, dear saviours of races?). In between Amit trivedi makes a lot of noise as well. This is NOT a song for kids. Nopes not. Amit trivedi has smartly crafted a very comic music arrangement around the song (and the lines from a very popular advertisement about a papad does help..hear it out!) Special mention of Amitabh bhattacharya (Wasn’t he one of the singers in ‘Emosanal atyachaar’ from Dev D?)….emoted well…a little too well.

Mahek BhiThe mandatory shreya ghosal song I thought (before the song started) when I was greeted by Shehnai, clarinet and a whistle. Yes, Shehnai that will melt your heart. Even though Shreya Ghosal has sung many a songs that sound like this one, the music arrangement lifts the song very well. Dreamy song. (Amit trivedi again in back up vocals, please note). At the risk of being repititive, in this song Shehnai is a clear winner. Beautifully done!

Aga bai – The first thing that hits you about this song is that it has quite a techno start! I wasn’t expecting this.The moment it all pauses for a second (or may be less than that), the song takes off and HOW!! Shalmali Kholgade and Monali Thakur  hug the song and inject energy that doesn’t die down.This is not one of those fake ‘sheila jawani’ or ‘Anarkali that goes to disco’ energy. This one, is for keeps! The mind again wanders towards the excellent music arrangement by Amit Trivedi (Some of it very 1980s Disco types!). If this song is filmed well, this has all the potential to set the screen on fire! Espeeesal marks to Shalmali for some excellent pronunciation in between (For example – Nayna instead of Naina!)

Sava dollar – A lavani, says the song title. It starts in the same manner anyway. Sunidhi chauhan emotes Bachchan and Rekha…emotes thanda and so on and so forth! Aided with very good set of backup vocals, the reference is towards making it big in ‘Philmi’ duniya. While I didn’t like the song as much as the other songs of the album, I have to admit that the fun Sunidhi chauhan has had singing this is contagious and the tongue in cheek lyrics will have you smiling without a doubt. Sunidhi chauhan can we please have you singing more for us? Please?

Dreamum Wakeupum – 1980s Disco with good brass band ‘wakes’ us up when the song starts. Very in your face and very suggestive. Much has been talked about this song already. The song, like the other fun songs of the film is very unapologetic. Soumya rao has kicked it and kicked it well! A song that will make splashes, big time (Yes, stating the obvious!). The arrangement is such so as to make the vocals very loud, still it doesn’t sound shrill. That’s the genius of Amit Trivedi and this can be said about the sound of the entire album as well.

The dear ‘Bollywood’ has a typical cliche attached to everything. While a ‘Veronica’ and ‘Riana Braganza’ are shown to have premarital sex at will, there have been so many cases when a typical ‘Aiyyo’ has been associated with our friends down south. The soundtrack (and the film, I reckon) takes a delicious potshot at this cliche and turns it by its head. An unapologetically fun soundtrack that is screaming out everything about the film.

A soundtrack that will set your playlist on fire and the one that displays Amit Trivedi and his magnificent range.

Highly recommended!

4.00/5.00

Music of Kshay

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Music of Kshay

If you still haven’t heard about Kshay read this post (with preview track links)

I still haven’t seen the film and haven’t read the posts that I have linked above. Therefore what I write here is just the first impression of the sound of the film that left an impact on the mind after hearing the CD. The track names are mentioned in bold.

The thing about the first track (titled – At the first sight)  that will arrest you is the use of bass and violins. The composer doesn’t try to sound ‘grand’ at all. The mood and the feel is very ‘come lets see what is happening’ rather than ‘Let me SHOW what’s happening’!

Slow strings introduce us to the next track Home. The mood is slow and the keyboard in the background gently climbs up your senses and sucks you into the mood the album, (and we are just on the second track!) The next track Chhaya starts in somewhat similar mood where Home left, but quickly the music is spread out and a peak is hit with heavy bass arrangement. I would have loved to hear more of this track. Injia is the next track that leavess a lot of space for thoughts. Sounds weird I know but the arrangement is so silent and ‘water drop’ like that you will probably drift into your thoughts. An almost silent track. A seed, a tree, A lotus starts with the customary violin and then uses other sounds with a reflective bass arrangement off and on. When the ‘Santoor like’ sound leads you to the end of the track the stillness lingers on in the mind. The stillness however takes a backseat and a lot of flowing strings take you everywhere in the track, aplty titled everywhere. The ‘Azaan’  lifts the track and how! If there was any 2 minute track that left a mark, it is THIS!. Excellent! A playful start followed by equally set of violins is what constructs and deconstructs a beautiful (and light!) track titled construction deconstruction. If you are one for slow dance, this one would make you raise your hands and swivel

She wakes has a typical morning feel with gentle music arrangement throughout, She sleeps is a track that might trick you into believing that the music would be like a  lullaby. A hint of conflict, smartly conveyed a quick violin interlude changes the mood of the track. Smart! Very smart! She dreams is another track that plays on the senses because the violins single handedly manage to create many layers of thoughts and then it all fades away.

Circles start with a faint background music that resembles the sound of a moving locomotive engine. This is constant throughout the track. Bass guitar and violin create an eerie feeling and the track ends. She infects the longest track of the album (5:27 minutes). A lot of keyboard is used to good effect.There are good number of pauses in the track. My favorite part starts towards the end (around 4:35 mins onwards) the track picks up and then resigns. The last track 5483 is in sync with the reflective and thoughtful mood of the album. Excellent use of bass marks this track.

For those of us who have seen this film, this interepretation of the music of the film might not be correct but if you haven’t seen it, you will love the music CD of this. The music CD is made available to us by bajaao.com and you can buy the film from flipkart as well.

The music is composed by Karan Gour (who is the director of the film as well) an Siddharth Bhatia. The beauty of the album is that do what it may for the film, it makes up for an excellent ‘stand alone’ album as well. It’s one of the characters of the film that is sure to lead you to the film on repeated listening.

An O.S.T. worth being in your collection, by all means.

Excellent!

Barfi! Music review…almost

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Ala Barfi! – Right from the first moment when you hear the whistle, you know this song is all about fun! A narrative of the alleged ‘sad’ life of Barfi, the song takes a lighter take on the situation rather than brooding over it (Sanjay Leela bhansali, take note). There are 2 versions of this song. One is sung by Mohit chauhan and one by Swanand kirkirey. The version by Mohit chauhan is peppier and stays true to the mood that the song aims to create. Swanand kirkire on the other hand, gives a naughtier touch to the song (so much so that ‘Munna mute hee aansu bahaye’ part doesn’t leave any impact in his version as much as it does it Mohit’s). Both versions are good in their own right. I liked the Mohit chauhan version better because its easy on ears. At times, with Swanand Kirkire version the voice is too heavy for the song that is to be sung lightly. In Mohit’s version, in each ‘Antra’, you can listen to a brief ‘tom n jerry prank style music piece’ even as Mohit is singing. Kudos to Swanand Kirkire for penning superb lyrics though.

Main kya karu – the song starts very quickly and in a very kya karu (from ‘wake up sid’ ) mood. The song doesn’t have an elaborate music setting before which the singer starts. Nikhil Paul george starts the song with less than 6 seconds of music into the track. The ‘guitar resignation of a note’ at every ‘uff’ in the song is cleverly placed. The ‘antras’ have a ‘hopeless in love’ mood to them which is immensely relatable and melodiously performed. The song again is very easy on ears and has a lazy feel to it due to the absence of ‘orchestra overload’ sort of music setting. Liked. Super liked.

KyonPapon, (I mean THE Papon!) starts the song with a very 1970s beat accompanying him. You almost miss a romantic accordion from the setting. The sweet violin arrangement makes it up very well though. Excellently penned by Neelesh Misra, the song makes just enough space for Sunidhi chauhan to take over one antra and leave us mesmerized. Excellent display of two master artists at work. The only grouse I have is that I left wanted to hear Sunidhi chauhan for one more Antra. Thoroughly enjoyable and hummable. Papon, sing more for us, will you? Please! The 25 second odd simple twinkling music arrangement towards the end of the song puts us back to sleep and the song ends.

Phir le aaya dil (Reprise) – Sung by Arijit singh along with Contemporary music setting (yes, with faint table throughout the song) and ghazal like lyrics. This is what best sums up the song. The use of Piano in between and the general mood of this song is just too good. There is another version of this song as well and we will go there in a minute but this song has more layers because it’s not an out and ghazal. The vocals of Arijit are apt for the song (And reminded me of Shail hada. Where’s he by the way?). The song is just very nicely done. Pritam, is that you? Really? Pleasantly surprised! For me, the best song of the album.

Phir le aaya dil – Sung by Rekha bharadwaj, this composition is an out and out ghazal, very linear in it’s approach. Not many layers. Not sure if this will feature in the film. We have heard Rekha bharadwaj sing many a ghazals like this so it doesn’t come as any surprise that she hugs the lyrics, hi5’s the music setting and sings with aplomb.

Aashiyan – Excellent accordion play starts this song and shreya ghosal greets us smiling. Nikhil Paul george makes another appearance and compliments Shreya ghosal superbly. This is a happy song. There is flute and voilin play in between and it does to us just what good music to the ears! Puts you at ease, instantly. The adorable ‘almost’ yodeling is placed perfectly in the song and you cant help but smile everytime it comes up. Excellent arrangement, this.

Aashiyan (Solo) –Nikhil Paul george goes on and about in this solo version. The duet version sounds fresh with Shreya Ghosal and if you have heard that version already, you will miss her voice in this because the energy is a little low. The tempo, music arrangement (save for voilins) is pretty much the same. The only difference that I could make out was the spacing between the opening lines of Mukhda. The lines are spaced using violins so that the listener doesn’t feel that the male voice is singing the female part as well. Not a song that would make you buy this album on a stand alone basis but compliments the album very well.

Sawali si raat – Beautiful Piano starts the song and guitars drift away in the background. Arijit singh whisper-starts the song. The song talks about ‘sleep’ but the singer sounds clearly out of place in this song. Not comfortable with the subdued singing, Arijit perhaps wasn’t the right choice of the song. The tune nevertheless is quite hummable (Youtube ‘versions’ of this ahoy!). The only blip on the otherwise excellent album and for this, I can’t penalize Mr. Pritam.

Phir le aaya dil (Shafqat amanat ali khan) – A very ‘raabta’ like start (initial notes remind you of the siyah raatein version of raabta), piano and a gentle music arrangement, thankfully aided by Sarangi this time start this song and Shafqat amanat ali khan gets on with it. The moment you hear this song you feel it is the ‘cleanest’ arranged and presented song of all the versions. Best part – you cannot (And should not) compare the 3 versions of this song. Arijit Singh’s version is blessed with more ‘feel’. Rekha Bharadwaj and Shafqat’s version is more directed towards singing it right. I cannot get over the excellent use of our very own ‘Sarangi’ in this version though. Not nitpicking but please do pay chotu attention the way Shafqat amanat ali khan pronounces ‘Baaki’. This is the version that will make you cry a bit, yep.

Special mention – Shafqat amanat ali khan has to be appreciated for not choosing similar songs and falling into the ‘Rahat fateh ali khan’ sahab wala ‘typecast’ groove.
This song completes the album, even more.

It’s already been said, blogged and screamed a lot that Pritam has outdone himself with this album and I will just reiterate it shamelessly! You can visualize the film when you hear the songs. If the teaser of Barfi looked like a picture perfect frame, the music adds beautiful colors to it. Thrilled beyond words, Pritam has given us one of the best music albums of this year!

Take a bow, Pritam…I owe you a 5 star chocolate, for this tasty Barfi!

Gangs of Wasseypur 2 – Music review

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1. Chicha ledar – The song starts with that familiar sound that all the people who lived near a cotton extracting/beating shop would easily identify. (Those huge sitar-like eqipuments) and then with appropriate ‘building up’ the song launches into a constant beat arrangement and in comes Durga!. Backed by extremely good lyrics the song grabs you and runs and runs! Special mention of the amazing use of words like ‘cheecha ledar, sarau, word play (whether i like the weather)’! The constant ‘joota joota joota’ gives the song a ‘remixed’ feel and then the ‘dub step’ comes in! Maha-amaJing! My grouse with the song is that it is JUST 4 minutes. Clearly a GAJJJJAB start to the album! (Varun insists that the usage of ‘sarau’ is a tribute to Lucknow, I must add).

Special mention of Durga (the 12 year singer), listen carefully how she says ‘dil’ in the song. Everytime! That’s called hugging the lyrics and not just singing it! Kudos!

2. Kaala reSneha khanwalkar. at. her. best. If the ‘keh ke loonga’ made us all hear Sneha launch into her ‘catty’ avatar. This one explores the playful undertones (with a very dark and haunting cello/bass arrangement). Saiyyan kartey ji coal-bazari. A song that’s helped a great deal by excellent lyrics. (Kaala bilkul surmey wala). All shades of black, explored. very. well. Perhaps some parallel will be drawn with the sound of A.R. Rahman.

3. Electric piyaRasika D Rani starts of (and must say the pronunciation of ‘elektric’ is very very ‘chic’!’) Then a very bhojpuri (Trinidad Tobago also?) music setting takes over (aided by ‘casio’like sound, harmonium, dholak and manjeeras). Dholak and Harmonium are quite prominent in addition to the vocals. A very naughty (in a very un-womaniya way) song. This is more like leg pulling of your ‘piya’. The words are pronounced in a flow and might not be able to get into the mind immediately. Repeat the song and you will find yourself smiling.

4.  Bahut Khoob – I am VERY interested to see the way this is going to be filmed. Very theatrical in the way it uses the voice of the kids (And at times Sneha in between). Hear it to make an opinion on the song. Mix and scratch and mix and scratch again and again!

5. Taar bijli – Harmonium with a lot of female backup singers (and some ‘chammach’ on dholak) leaves us with Padamshree Sharda sinha to weave magic. The setting is very playful. Lyrics full of gentle banter directed towards her in-laws by the bride. ‘Na idhar na udhar hi sihaare piya’…! excellent lyrics. The song is NOT another ‘womaniya’. While Womaniya was more ‘intimate, naughty and personal’, this one puts out the banter in open and poses some questions to the entire family about the bridegroom. The song is actually a satire on the worsening condition of Bihar in 80s and 90s. Perhaps the most conventional song of the pack. Sweet and melodious.

6. Aabroo – Starts with bulbul tarang and dholak. The setting is very ‘gali mohalla’ style. Piyush mishra gets into action (and you can picture him sitting on a ‘chowk’ surrounded by people) A little different from his normal style, Piyush mishra emotes ‘ekdam ghus key’. Bhupesh singh very smartly contests Piyush mishra (not teams up, contests). An election campaign song, It’s the ‘compteesan’ that has been got music as a background. Kudos to Piyush Mishra! Hilarious to the core. A genre that has resurfaced after a long time!

7.Perpendicular theme – Using a mix of brass band and other sounds, this less than a 2 minute track ends too soon (May be weird just for me, because I am used to the ‘themes’ being longer). A kid’s playful voice a shehnai (may be) and drums at times. Also, the brass band plays a tune in between. I have heard it somewhere and can’t put a finger to it. Who can remember it? I liked the song but disliked the fact it’s too short. The theme is paced so well that you would want to listen to it for a longer duration but then, it ends!

8. Moora – Guitar and mandolin together and you know the song will make you smile. Sneha khanwalkar gives a whispering start to the song. Chiefly using Mandolin and Guitar (just ‘by the side’ arrangement), the beauty of the song is that the vocals are also understated. Would have liked a little more ‘energy’ in the vocals. The lyrics anyway talk of hope so found this version a little dim. The interesting part of this version is a faint ‘male’ voice. It’s the voice of Robbie styles from trinidad) who played cuatro and mandolin in the song. Best part – he doesn’t know hindi.

9. TunyaBulbultarang’s excellent use with the members of ‘Baal party’ (and if you hear attentively I guess there is a bit of Sneha in the background too). This is just 1:22 minutes track and boy is it sticky or what? As I continue to complain about the duration of this track I can’t help but feel this will make a great ringtone too!

10. Bahut Khoob (8 Bit dubstep) – Excellent use of the 8 bit dubstep arrangement has made this piece (which is still less than 3 minutes!) breezy and intriguing at the same time. From 1:50 minutes, Sneha uses Super mario music (With altered tempo) and then constructs a bit of her own tune around it. This is sheer brilliance! (90s kids! rejoice!). Although in the lyrics post , it was mentioned that the words are random, I am quite sure that the kids are referring to the movements of a train. Varun points out that the song refers to the movement of ‘Ganga, the river’. Hear hear and then let’s discuss?

11. Electric piya (Fused) – Not remixed, Fused! Pretty straight forward ‘fused’ version. Harmonium remains and is aided by uniform beats and at times echo. Didn’t like this version much. May be you will. Try it out.

12. Moora (Morning) – Compared to the previous version of ‘Moora’, this one starts with more instruments and the mandolin makes way for  ‘The ‘Humni ke chori ke nagariya’ (From Gangs of Wasseypur part 1, soundtrack) boy Deepak gets behind the microphone again to give us a more soulful rendition of this song. Lyrics, excellent. Energy (and music arrangement) – Up to the mark! No guitar. Some echo. Some trans like sound. Kabir-sque lyrics. Ends very very techno istyle! My pick of the album, this.

13. KKL – Sneha! Sneha! echoes ‘KKL’ which is nothing but Keh ke loonga. This version will tickle all the ‘techno junkies’ at the right places. If we remember right, the ‘loonga loonga keh ke’ (From part 1 isn’t used in Gangs of wasseypur part 1, the film). This track features the all male chorus from the song and then mixes up with tiny bits of Sneha’s voice. Sneha has used the bits from the part 1 song superbly! This is what you can easily call as a ‘ball busting ass kicking’ music arrangement. (Try getting the ‘चीख’ of sneha out of your head when she goes ‘Teri keh ke longaaaaaaa’). What I shudder thinking about is – our reality TV shows will kill this song by ‘performing’ on this.

A lot of talk has happened pointing directly towards how some of the tracks in Gangs of wasseypur sound like ‘Sound trippin’. If we are to back in time by say 2 years (when Gangs of wasseypur’s music was being made), MTV had no idea of Sound trippin. Could it not be a possibility that Sound trippin came AFTER viacomm heard the music and sounded off their Music channel to make a show around these ‘unique’ songs and sounds that Sneha accumulated? Think about it.

With the Music of Gangs of Wasseypur 1,  sitting pretty already and other credentials in her bag (rather backpack!), Sneha Khanwalkar delivers a different sound with this album. While the Gangs of Wasseypur 1 album was tilted heavily towards the folk sound, this one is more contemporary. The selection of singers and lyrics continue to play a smart role in the overall feel of the album. Piyush mishra appears for just one song and hits a homerun. Varun Grover should probably start preparing for a speech already because kala rey will cause a lot of cheecha ledar and might make a moora of a lot of lyricists this year. All we shall do is just celebrate the arrival of a deeply rooted (to the story line and narration) lyricist and yes the words bahut khoob would be incidental.

Our pick – Entire album. With so much prem pritam pyare and bro-jid-sque music around, if any film album is worth your full time, it is this.

CokeStudio at MTV – Season 2, Episode 1

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Saathi SalaamUstad (yes I would address him as ‘Ustad’. So what if MTV doesn’t?) Sawan khan shakes and stirs the soul with a captivating start to this composition and Clinton quietly makes space for himself alongside the Ustad and delivers what is easily the most powerful song of this episode. The coordination, music arrangement, lyrics, singing (and everything else which ai don’t know, but makes the song awesome) are on target. Although the ‘song info’ (on the official website) says that this song is all about the tussle that a man (not woman, just man!) goes through daily, the song can be an excellent pick to address terrorism and the fragile state in which we breathe these days. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist bringing it up. Also, must add the video of this song is the only one that stands out for this episode. Very ‘Kewl’ to see Ustad ji’ jamming with the kids and being oh so animated without making a big deal of it and without giving that ‘oh I am too cool for the camera but would love a closeup please’ look. He is just busy in his craft. I wanted to dislike the last 1:42 mins of the song but they do give a wholesome feel to the entire song. The element of finality, a fitting start to the season!. 3 Thumbs up!

Banjara –  Vijay Prakash starts off with a powerful alaap. Not sure whether this lovely verse (By Hazrat Amir khusro) required so many harkats but then, what do I know? ‘Raga illeterate, musically challenged’ that I am. Anyway, the sargam that follows delay the start of the song (but not for long, thankfully). Nandini Srikar comes in and effortlessly does what we know she can. Let down by really bad lyrics (at times, the tune is trying to accomodate extra words I felt). The song starts with the popular verses by (and the MTV site credits) Hazrat Amir Khusro, but am not sure why they forgot crediting Saint Kabir whose lines are sung by Vijay Prakash (jaise til mein tel hai, chamak mein aag, khud ka sai khud mein hai jaag sakey to jaag). The groove is awesome, the song is hollow and fails miserably. The over the top alaaps and pointless (out of sync as well I reckon, especially towards the end) killed the song that could have been a lot more. Trying too hard to prove the classical prowess are we?

Chaddh de  – A song that master salim started with a lot of promise and failed miserably due to an awkward mish mash of lyrics, music and everyone doing their own bit without realising that it should all fit in as a cohesive song. We all have seen our end of ‘performances’ in cokestudio but this song in particular comes across trying too hard to please (awkward alaaps by saleem included).

The site does credit the lyricist and mentions how sad he was at the time of penning these lyrics, but what they forgot to mention was the fact that the lines which Salim repeated till death towards the end and in between belong to Saint kabir. Trying too hard to accomodate ‘Baba bulleh shah, Hazrat Amir khusro and Saint Kabir’ all in one episode are we? Hmmm. Ok. Saddest song of this episode. Easily. The song tires you. Try it.

Madari – beautiful start with a subtle keyboard, guitar and mandolin. Vishal dadlani is light and breezy with heavy lyrics and doesn’t use much modulation to ’emphasize’ the seriousness of the song (Kudos Clinton! For this). Sonu kakkar, the female lead singer of this song tries too hard to sing the lines crom ‘Baba bulleh shah’ with a different twist. It sounds cool once but repeating it again and again killed the momentum of the song. Not k owing where to stop, may be. Anyway, ‘Baba bulleh shah’ isn’t credited by MTV either in the ‘lyrics info’ section. Vishal salvages this song well. Still undecided on the song. Hear it to decide for yourself.

Mauje Naina – Arguably the best song of the episode in terms of originality. Bass and dhol (yes dhol!) create just half impact as the vocals of Bianca Gomes, Shadab and Altamash literally drag you out and leave your senses in the open jungle filled with cheat, gulit and deceit. Cokestudio Pakistan attempted mixing english words here but in my view, they failed miserably because the lyrics were out of context anyway. The beauty of this song, however is the atmosphere it creates. It’s like a theatrical depiction filled with BLACK and BLOOD. The hindi words (and the style of singing) is very ‘naina thag lengey’ sorts. Bianca’s voice is catty and full of inviting undertones. Don’t let the soft start to this song fool you. This is dark and dark is all shades of black and not grey. Highly, totally and completely recommended. Something so original and so beautiful that one is willing to excuse the season 1 completely and call this a beginning and a gutsy one at that! Superb superb superb!

Dungar – beautiful choir singing alongside Ustad Sawan khan! Ok! Now we are talking about cokestudio! though a short track, Clinton manages this very well and gives us a taste of what is it about the word ‘fusion’ that we love. A top class composition. Watch out for the last 53 seconds of the song when Ustad ji and the choir sing together. For me, this is the high point of the song. Simply stunning!

My picks – Saathi Salaam, Mauje naina and Dungar

Much of my grouse with Cokestudio India has subsided due to the above mentioned songs from this episode. If i try hard to find out 3 original songs from last entire season that i liked, I will fail to do so. Also, superb initiative by MTV to air this season on Doordarshan as well. Excellent work by Clinton and now all eyes and ears on the Epsiode 2 that should hit us tomorrow evening! Mighty happy to see Hindi poetry getting it’s due because I fail to understand why the Indian version of CokeStudio should sound like the Pakistan version? Look for poets here…there are way too many who are yet to find their voices on a bigger scale and what better platform than CokeStudio?

Fail to understand why Ustad sawan khan is not mentioned in the artist section of the website, image below.

Also, still no free downloads?

3 Thumbs up for the start!


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