Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fluid and Infiniti

Two great albums from the Indian sub-continent, one from Rahman's flautist, Naveen and the other by Salman Ahmad - lead guitarist of Junoon

Fluid (Naveen)
A must hear for any Rahman fan - no offence meant but every piece in this album has a distinct rahmantic feel - well of course, he has spent nearly 10-12 years in Rahman's company. But at the same time, Naveen the brilliant flautist is remarkable in each track on this album.

1) Fluid - the track is a fast one, an apt start for this album with Naveen's flute fitting perfectly between the other orchestration. Drums and bongos make part of the orchestration on this track.

2) Bombay Theme - Well, we all know this one ...we have heard this and so has every one else in the world, I guess. But what we didn't hear is the version in this album. Naveen gives a rousing start to this song - in fact for the first 2:25 minutes of the track, you wonder, why its called Bombay Theme - not that you don't enjoy the music but then wheres what you are waiting for ?
2:26 and the ever familiar music starts ..Amazing is the word - the remaining part is also modified with vocals and other instruments and it all fits perfectly. Well, we all know this song ...I end how I started

3) Mohana - Excellent orchestration again - folks this album is not just about the Flute, believe me, its the orchestration too. Since I just have the mp3 right now (will get the CD tomorrow), I don't know who the arranger is. Diverted from the point - This track is a beautiful classical composition with the mridangam, veena and guitar all in perfect ensemble - did I forget something, oh yes - the Flute. Divine and Sublime. Probably my pick from this album.

4) Chennai Rain - Celebrating rain in Chennai ? Maybe - I don't know the context p but all i know is that this track is a nice rythmic one with fast and perfect dance beats.

5) Jiya Jale - A rendition of the classic 'Jiya Jale' song from Dil Se. Nice guitar strumming in the background. Good one.

6) First Light - A soft number - kind of has a Jazz flavour to it with a nice rythm overall.

7) Symphony - Again a soft number - by this time, you start wondering whether this guy has anything left to achieve in the art of playing the flute. I guess, not.

8) You and I - And you thought that the best of the album was done ? Wait till you hear this one. Brilliant guitaring, vocals, flute and then the lyrics, the main song itself sung by kids I guess - 2:46 when the kids start singing in their cute little voices :-). And at 3:43, the song breaks free into another zone - Amazing one this ....

9) Essence - A fitting end to the album, a soft one again with great orchestration consisiting of the tabla, sarod, mridangam and a lot of other instruments. A trifle long though.

You rock Naveen and so does your album ...

Infinite (Salman Ahmad)
Not writing a detailed review of this one since this is an old one (nearly a year now) . Salman Ahmad for those who are not aware is the lead guitarist and I guess the founder of 'Junoon', one of the most well known bands from Pakistan.

Great guitaring, great percussion and some great vocals in this one.

My picks
Natchoon Gi, Ghoom Tana (original and remix), Do Dil, Al-vida, Tu Lung Ja

Who wins out of the two albums mentioned above ?????
The winner at the end of the day is music - and all music fans like me - across the globe


Thursday, June 22, 2006

"World Music" Day

June 21st(yesterday) happened to be "World Music" day as I discovered today ....

"World Music" is just another one of the classifications that have found their way into Music dictionaries of the world.

Wikipedia says - "world music" refers to any form of music that is not part of modern mainstream Western commercial popular music or classical music traditions, and which typically originates from outside the cultural sphere of Western Europe and the English-speaking nations.

Anyway, belated happy 'World Music' day .......please note ..its not "World Music Day" :-)


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

About Kite Runner and more

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
A review in one word for this book would be - Fantastic

Rarely has a book caught my full attention and interest the way, this book did. 310 pages or so and all it took was around 4 hours of which the last 200 were dealt with in 2 hours - in a flight from SFO to Seattle.
Since this review is not intended to be a spoiler, all I will write is this ...

The book is set in Afghanistan during its earlier hey days and then its rough ride thanks to the Russians/Americans. Its about two little boys who are great pals, their lives as they grow up and the events that interwine their lives. - Amir and Hassan. A simple one, this book, but one that manages to keep you interested with its pace and simplicity.

A highly recommended read ...


Nuthing great that I have heard this week, got hold of a Bob Dylan-Unplugged album, pretty decent one, though obviously, I already had hear their album versions earlier.

Heard some new Hindi stuff too - the only one worth mentioning though is Strings-Bound by Faith by Zubeen Garg. Its worth a try if you want something different.

I still maintain that KANK (refer last post) is just an Ok album contrary to the great reviews and coverage its getting. Its hyped ..and surely in a big way ...thanks to the cast and the director .... Sorry... but thats my take and it will stay that way.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The wait ...

The wait for a Rahman album when you know one is round the corner somehere - is just I discover here - waiting for JoK (Jillunu Oru Kaadhal) to release.....

And so while I waited I heard KANK(Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna)

KANK is by SEL(Shankar Ehsaan Loy) . Quite an anti-climax considering that this was one of the most anticipated ost of the year (since its a KJ - Karan Johar movie). Not that I had high hopes (specifically because it was a Johar movie ..he he ). The songs are quite bland and sound somewhat like Karan Johar's earlier movie songs.
I feel that the SEL trio have not composed what their usual fun stuff is but rather have been bound by KJ. SEL are good intelligent lot but they need to be given their space as is the case with Rahman.

My recommendation - hear it once or twice - some songs might grow on you but on the whole expect nothing extraordinary.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Memphis...Graceland and Work

In Memphis this week, on work. Though I had today to msyelf .

And so went to Graceland (Elvis Presley's home) - one of the shrines for people into Rock n Roll. Though not the biggest fan of the man widely regarded as the King of Rock n Roll, I wouldn't have missed this oppurtunity in a lifetime. The mansion is pretty big and pretty well maintained and is owned by his daughter(Lisa) as the audio tour guide tells me. Elvis bought it in 1958 for around USD 100,000 or so. The tour itself is pretty well done, with the guide (audio) detailing out his life and times and people pretty well.

My knowledge of Elvis was limited to his music and movies only but today was introduced to his philanthropic side and boy !!! - did that surprise me..... He has in his lifetime given so much to organisations and people in Memphis that its amazing how even after being who he was, he was so deeply attached to common people and their troubles. Rockers aren't really known for this :-). Anyway, this really did tons for my respect for Elvis. Truly a King ...

Theres a Car musuem too which houses the Cars and Bikes he owned. Apparently he had a real love for machines and that shows....

Also, did you know Elvis was a Black belt in Karate (in two different levels that too).....

Fun day or rather a fun 3-4 hours ....

More later I brace myself up for tomorrow and work ..... :-(