Sunday, December 21, 2008

The world of music

The world of music and music itself has no boundaries, no limits. Each passing day, I discover new music that is just so wonderful and that every time I think that there can be nothing new - bam !!! theres more of new music and I am back on the road to discovery.

Whether it was in the days of my tryst with Indian classical (south indian carnatic mostly with the likes of L Vaidynathan or MS or Mandolin Srinivas or for that matter Shakti (fusion indian classical) and beyond) or the world of Gazals (jagjit singh, ghulam ali ...and beyond) or classic hindi music of the wonder years ...50's, 60's and 70's (SD, RD, Salil Chaudhary et al ) or ARR or Rock (from my hard metal days of Maiden to Experimental Rock such as TV on the Radio) or just World music (just too many of them to write about) ......all of it has just been such an amazing, pleasant and a eye-opening journey that I could (and probably will someday) write a book about it.

Anyway, being nostalgic and describing my journey was not the intent of this post .....The intent was to introduce everyone to some of the wonderful new music I have been listening to the past few weeks

First up
Amadou & Mariam - 
Amadou and Mariam are a musical duo from Mali, composed of the couple Mariam Doumbia and Amadou Bagayoko.  The pair, known as "the blind couple from Mali" met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind, and found they shared an interest in music. 
Listen to this for a little dose of their wonderful music

Anathallo is a Indie Rock ensemble originally from Michigan and now based in Chicago, Illinois. The band started practicing in the fall of 2000 and played their first show soon afterward. Their name is derived from a Greek word meaning "to renew, refresh or bloom again.
Try the song 'A Great Wind more Ash' from either of the sites below to hear their magic ....


Frightened Rabbit
What a name an what an amazing group ....Frightened Rabbit are a Scottish indie rock band from SelkirkScotland
Get a dose of their magic

And Last but not the least

TV on The Radio
TV on the Radio (often abbreviated to TVotR) is an American experimental rock band formed in 2001 in New York City. The band's music spans genres as diverse as post-punkfree jazza cappelladoo-wopsoulshoegaze and electro.
This band has been named the best for the year 2008 by Rolling Stones ...what more can you ask.
And this is what they sound like .....

More new music to follow ....till then enjoy these groups. I request everyone to buy original CD's if you like all songs by
an artist. If not, please buy individual songs from ITunes or Rhapsody


Monday, December 15, 2008

ARR - This is where he always belonged ......

A R Rahman amongst some other greats in Western/Hollywood music.
A.R. Rahman (Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog Millionaire"), Howard Shore (Miramax's "Doubt"), Danny Elfman (Focus Features' "Milk"), Alexandre Desplat (Paramount's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") and Jan Kaczmarek (Overture's "The Visitor")

This year, the western world seems to have finally woken up to this man's magic in the form of the magical score for Slumdog Millionaire. Though, Hollywood and the world outside India has seen glimpses of his works in the past - its this year that ARR finally gets his due.

To be honest, I don't believe that the Western world needed to recognize this man's genious and act as a stamp of approval to convince us Rahmaniacs - he is at a much higher altar already for the millions here - its just that I feel good, I feel proud and I feel really really happy for his success.

Cheers to ARR on his acheivements this year, for all the wonderful music he has given over the years and for being the humble and down-to-earth person that he is. 


Friday, November 14, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire - 'I' review

And well though its not really a review ....just some thoughts.
Ok ...coming back to the point......Saw the movie today finally .....
So 'I' = 'me'
Is it worth the hype? Well more of 'yes' and some 'no' - 

Yes for the sheer brilliance in which raw India has been captured.
Yes for the vibrant colors and wonderful camera work.
Yes for the amazing cast selection and the brilliant potrayals of their roles by each character.
Yes for the storyline (mind u ..if u think this is an exact adaptation of QnA, you might be in for a surprise)
Yes for Danny Boyle - if it hadn't been for ARR, the name Danny Boyle would still have made me go watch this movie
And of course the biggest Yes for ARR - A thumping, pulsating score worth every bit in gold (my opinion) - Jai Ho is wonderful and so are the bits and pieces of bgm's and other songs thrown in between.

A mild No - for editing (feel the editing could have been a better, made the movie a little more crispier)
A mild No - because ..probably its something that captivates the rest of the world (the fascination ..that is India) more than it might do us Indians (brickbats please)

Is it a recommended watch - Yes ..defnitely though I would have loved to hear more ARR stuff in there.
After all...ain't that what we Rahmaniacs wish for.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Musical quest

The self styled, so called 'musical quest' ....It continues.

New discoveries ....

Annuals -
Amazing Alt Rock band .....check this out if you want to know why this band gets my approval :-)

The Ting Things
Pop-Rock at its exploratory best.....another group that gets my approval. Mind you, there are just people in this act

Fleet Foxes
Seattle based environmentally conscious pop rock. CrossbyStillsNash styled ..I would say. Glorious indeed.

The old timers ....
Snow Patrol is out with a new album ...called A Hundred Million Suns ..decent but not their best
Travis is out with a new album - Ode to J Smith ....nice album ...they sound quite different in it..worth checking out

More later ...


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yuvraaj is a classic

Day 1

Act 1:
a BART ride to SFO (workplace) ...Yuvraaj songs on iPod.

Song 1 skip,
Song 2 ....2 mins, skip,
Song 3 -45 secs skip,
Song 4 Kinda Ok ,
Song 5 ...kinda Ok ,
Song 6 ...good but could have been better.
Song 7 - Ok,
Song 8 - Good,
Song 9 ...remix ...yuck ...

General thought. Songs are just ok. What's happened to ARR this time around.
End of BART ride - nah ...this album aint that good.

Act 2:
Login into ARR Yahoo group - post your first thoughts and dimiss the album complaining about Lyrics, music being too techno. Weak album, Shanno Shanno - terrible song....blah ..blah ..blah

Act 3:
Lets give it another try....
After all its an ARR album.
Ok - it sounds better - hmm songs are not that bad.
End of Day - have already heard the album close to 5 times and can't stop listening to it

Day 2 to the present day
Same Act repeated in a loop ....
Yuvraaj is on repeat mode with some occasional breaks (for charging iPod, hearing a new rock act discovery callled the Annuals) but nah ...back to Yuvraaj.

That in a nutshell is what has happened with this album. There is little doubt that ARR's music is slow poison but that it was this poisonous is something that I didnt realise.

A detailed review to follow ......all I can say for now is that I have to go back and drown further into this magician's world.

ARR - you rock and yet again I feel blessed to be born in the same era as you and to be able to appreciate the world that you have introduced me and countless others to.

Thank you sire.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Defeated ...tormented ...dejected

After a horrendous and bloody battle with the icici direct website for the past 1 hr and 15 minutes ...even with advanced weaponary such as comcast high speed network, wireless connectivity, direct ethernet connection, vpn access (through wsgc network), I have failed. I submit ....I submit to the power the will the might of the ICICI network.

it was a one-sided affair in which I was thrown out inexplicably - innumerous times - I was given the 'page not found' many times and I was left teary-eyed ....most of the times.

the war is over ..icici has won yet again.

I will now retire into the loneliness the dark of the night and sleep ...a tormented soul shall now sleep.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

If this is anything to go by ...

then we are in for a real treat ...

ARR rockss always


Sunday, August 10, 2008

'IMAXed' is the Knight

Twice in 3 weeks ...this movie took me back to the movie-hall in the quickest ever time The last was proabably DCH ..another world ..another time (DCH - Dil Chahta Hain)

Dark Knight ..the movie and Heath Ledger's and Bale's performances have entrenched so deep into my mind that this one is gonna take a long time to wear off (not that I want it to)

This time around at the IMAX ..even as I knew each minute ..each twist still was probably as exciting as the first time around. I think this time around - I was watching the finer points of each person's brilliance in this movie.

I dont think I have enough words to describe the cinematic experience that it is ...this movie.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why so serious ....

This has to rank as one of the most stunning OST's that I have ever heard !!!

A 9 minute monster ...consider yourself warned ...


Sunday, July 27, 2008

What is Intelligence

or should I say Un-Intelligence in the case of India's security agencies ...the IB and the RAW ????

Two blasts in 2 days ....and the second one despite a e-mail threat ..its plain ridiculous what the state of affairs are. Who is to blame for this miss - apart from the maniacs who committed this dastardly act - it has to be the politicians, the cops and the so called 'Intelligence agencies'. In a few days ..they will claim to get some leads, catch or frame some innocent folks (presumably some muslims) - that will start a cycle ...a vicious cycle of more angry minorities.

Life is cheap these days ....too cheap. This incident like any other previous acts of terror would soon be forgotten and by soon ..I will say 2 days. India will be back to the Dhoni's, the Kareena's the Shahrukh's, the Salmans, bribery scandals for votes ....soon and 50 lives will be forgotten just like this ...poooof !!!

I dont know who to blame ....who is the enemy ....where to start and now where to end ...
Life will go on ...anyway ..

Some articles for a further read,8599,1826950,00.html


Monday, July 21, 2008

Dark Knight ...flies high

Higher than the rest ....probably one of the most stunning movies I have ever seen.

Whether its the cast, the action, the sets or the chilling soundtrack ....the movie is an example of complete mastery. Heath ledger is as brilliant as I had read about and more. Bale is at his best (as always ..from the days of 'Empire of the Sun') and Chris Nolan at the helm roars yet again telling you that Memento was not a fluke ....and that he is one of the most brilliant directors around in Hollywood.

There is a very good chance that I am gonna watch this one again at IMAX.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Now Reading ....n thinking n excited

Pillars of the Earth - by Ken Folett
Actually re-reading it after 12 years ...I last read it in 1995 in a 6 day blitz (constrained by a BCL due date).

This book is so remarkably different than anything Follett has ever written (distant from his world of spy novels and thrillers) that I find it exciting to read even the second time around. The main reason I am reading it though is because I want to read its sequel ....

p.s. 'BCL' btw stands for British Council Library ...I loved those trips to the BCL at CP and I miss almost everything about Delhi now :-(

luved a book called 'Water for Elephant' - quite well written

Yet again ....where this world is headed to - rising prices a.k.a inflation, rising turmoil in almost every part of the world ....wondering how much the world has changed in just over a year ...

About the movie 'Dark Knight' releasing tonight/tomorrow- the first Batman became an instant classic in my list its only obvious that I have been waiting since then for this sequel .....

The National, ARR, Elbow and Radiohead occasionally


Sunday, July 13, 2008

A list

Think I should list it down before I forget..


  • Deep Purple
  • Scorpions
  • Bryan Adams
  • Roger Waters


  • Incubus
  • Our Lady Peace
  • Bob Dylan
  • Willie Nelson
  • Eels
  • Random Bands@ Croc Cafe, Seattle
  • The Who
  • Blue October
  • Elbow
  • KFOG Kaboom
    Collective Souls
    Matt Nathanson
  • REM@ Greek Theater
    The National
    Modest Mouse
  • Sivamani
  • A R Rahman
  • Indian Ocean

Yep ..if you guessed that its the list of Concerts I have attended, then thats right.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sakkarakatti n JTYJN n Ada

You wil typically review something to write about the pros and cons or to describe your love/hate for something/someone.

There are several reasons why I have almost stopped reviewing ARR albums.
Primarily its due to the fact that this man is so at the top of his game that for miles n miles and miles ...there is no one in sight one in comparison to this man and the magic he creates each time he composes...
I could have also stopped reviewing due to the fact that I am just crazy about this man's music :-). So my extolment wont end if I start reviewing his albums.

Be it Ada or JTYJN and now Sakkarakatti (Tamil)- there are really no words for me to pen down since probably each song is a journey ...a lesson in its own right.

I am yet to grab my CD of the new Tamil release - so for now ..i have to limit myself to hearing the songs online .....but wow usual ARR rocks

Probably I can get myself to write a review once I have the CD.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Beat this .....

Jordan Rudess (Dreamtheater)


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Yes yes ..there has been a fuel price hike in India

And how would u know that? well for starters ...take a look at this ....

Bravo folks....Bravo !!!!

and well we have bandhs (strikes) too ...look at this

I am at a loss for words now ...


Monday, June 02, 2008

A Dream comes true ....

just came back from a R.E.M concert at awfully long wait but finally got to see them ...

in fact this past month has been great ...Collective Souls, Elbow ...and now REM
and 2 ARR albums ...

what more could I have wished for ...


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sivamani concert ....Bay Area ...Jul 5th

Sivamani concert ...July 5th ..Marriott San Ramon ..


Thursday, May 29, 2008

A cool composition

A good one ...the second part is really cool ..


A sad BART Commuter

To the SF BART representatives ....

I have tried all means of trying to communicate my grievances about the problems on the Fremont-Hayward line since the past few weeks. But I dont think I have yet received any satisfactory explanation to how a sub-station problem like the one that occured on May 11th - can take 2 months to repair in today's age and specially when the BART ridership is at an all time high.

To-date since May 11th
-- I have seen at least 3 people faint on the train thanks to the sweltering heat and the crowds
-- I have noticed people lose temper thanks to the packed crowds (and tensions thanks to that)
-- As a daily commuter from Fremont from SF - I have travelled around 10-15 times standing all the way (the other times I hav avoided by travelling back all the way upto 16th Street from Embarcadero to get a seat)
-- Have got up at least 3 times to give someone my seat (mostly ladies or old people)-- Erratic timings of trains (trains from Fremont to SFO leave at any arbit times - its impossible to plan anything)

All this given that Fremont and Union City have probably the largest community of BART riders. These days people beyond Union City dont stand a chance of getting a seat (sometimes not even people from Union City).

It almost feels like no one cares as to what happens to commuters on the Fremont line. As it is we had trains only once every 15 mins even thats an old story ..a luxury ... I have tried speaking to BART employees at stations and also called the BART Customer Service line but everyone seems so apathetic to our plight.

I sincerely hope that something is done to address the concerns of thousand of riders like me.


Holding India ransom easy

Its one group one day ...its some other group the other day .....the latest being the Gujjar community. Strikes, protests, bandhs .....are the order of the day and its just so stir up something

I just dont get the idea of reservations and quotas. Do these people purposely want to demean themselves by getting themselves classified as 'SC'/'ST' just to get way with an easy life thanks to quotas et al. ?

I abhor the Indian govt and its vote-band politics for having even started paying attention to such matters. All the Mandal commisions and gujjars and whatever the $%^k these folks want ......Come on guys !!!! Are other people idiots ....are folks from poor families who dont belong to the 'ELITE' SC/ST tribes fools to slog for their daily bread and a decent life????? Why the heck should there be difference?? Life is tough ....and accept that rather than resorting to such dirty and pathetic tactics of bandhs and rail-roko craziness ..just to get away from HARD WORK !!!!!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A double whammy !!!!

I bow before thee...oh Lord of music ....ARR (A R Rahman)

The first Monday of this week ..May 19th - music buffs or in this case Rahmaniacs like me have been treated to a double whammy of sorts ....(to rahmaniacs - its called blessings in disguise) - two ARR albums released ....this day

ADA and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na - Each of them brilliant and each of them show in their own way why this man is unarguably the best ever that ever was ...that ever is and that ever will be.

Detailed reviews and comments to follow .....for now am just immersed in the magic that this man has created in these 2 albums ...


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some numbers .....a thought

China quake - 32,477 people with 220,109 injured (official figures)
Myanmar - death toll in Myanmar range from 68,833 and 127,990 (official figures)
The several hundred proxy and civil wars being fought on almost every corner of the earth this very instant ...lets add another several thousand ....shall we ?

Within a span of a week or two ....200,000 people wiped out from the surface of the earth ....and more dissappearing the minute ....

I guess these numbers (and such incidents) have ceased to shock us anymore

On a different note ....guess Life is too cheap these days ....(Oil and other expenses are not)
Battles for Oil ....for power .....and well nature and its quirks are playing their part too ..

Whats this world coming to ????


Saturday, May 03, 2008

The coming weeks are really muziqqqal.....

They are going to be a blast ..musically ....

Starting off with a 'Elbow' concert on the 8th to the KFOG Kaboom (Collective Souls) on May 10th and then onto next week when two of A R Rahman's soundtracks are releasing (as per latest reports ..13th and the 15th). I can't even remember the last time when two ARR albums came out this close to each other .....

Wow !!!!!!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Blue and the story of the two 'Elbows'

Blue October now has officially received their stamp of approval from my stable - whether or not they want it is another question ....

I recently retreived yet another album of theirs - goes by the name of 'History for Sale'. Listening to this - what can quite easily be said is that these folks easily make it to my Top 10 of all times. The list which is headed by a certain Mr. ARR (Dil Se playin on my Ipod currently) is a formidable one which probably the top 5 would be just Mr. ARR :-) (a hopelessly biased me) - Floydd, Collective Souls, Led Zep would figure there too. Being in this list is a tough ask ....but these guys probably have managed to enter this list.


Because ...they rock ...the lead vocals are amazing ..their bass usage rocks ...their use of violin is amazing ....they experiment ..and because ..their lyrics are also equally amazing.
And because I have 3 of their albums and I would give them almost 7 to 8 out of 10 on all of them.

Blue October - welcome to the list

The two Elbows

a) Elbow - a Brit, Manchestor, UK based band is another band I am hooked onto lately. Again, great experimental sounds, awesome bass usage and ofcourse great lyrics. Hearing their new album 'Seldom Seen Kid' and hv been hooked onto it for the past 2 weeks or so.
In fact, I am going to their concert into 2 weeks time (8th May, SFO) .yippieeee

b) My Elbow - has been in a terrible state of affairs lately - thanks much to the Tennis game on 'Wii'. Bought a Wii some weeks back and ever since then I have been non-stop at Tennis. No wonder ...I am having a torrid time with my elbow ...(is this whats called a 'Tennis Elbow' ???)


Monday, March 31, 2008

Rocking along ....Blue October

When I am not lost in the world of ARR, it has to be rock that keeps me going. Good rock ...good music ..though is hard to come by these days ....occasional flashes of brilliance here and there but most fade away ....

Anyway ...I hope Blue October (the reason for this post) is not something that falls into the above category ...

I first heard these guys on the VH1 countdown - their song "Into the Ocean" was what caught my attention. Some googling and some myspace page lead me couple of other songs by these guys ...and I was hooked on. Poppish Rock or Alternative if I can classify them as ...these folks as I understand are from Houston, Texas (which again is weird since they sounds European to the core). "Foiled" is their latest album (released 2007) and for which these guys were touring - and that's when I got a chance to attend their show at the Filmore,SF. A fantastic decision I must say - to go an watch these guys ...coz. it was just an amazing concert.

More recently though - I went bac in time to find some of their old albums and stepped on 'Consent To treatment' - i think an album from way back in 2000. Yet again ...dont think I did anything wrong ...these folks are incredible in that album too.

There's a couple of more albums of theirs that I guess I need to locate. Probably after that I can authoritatively say whether these guys are just a flash in the pan or not. I hope not ...cause I do really like their music. Its refreshing ...its new ...its good ...and its Rock.

Read more about Blue-October here


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

India blues

I don't hate India
I don't hate Indian people

But I definitely hate whats happening to India - the result of the so called 'Economic boom' ...where along with increase in money that people have ..with the increase in affluence....there has been a proportional and corresponding decrease in realisation of social responsibilities ....abysmal changes in people's attitudes and deplorable state of civic and living conditions (well everyone has swanky cars and plush homes ...but what about the roads and public properties and roads)

More on this later but for now a pic from a recent India trip

More gory pics can be viewed thru the following link :-)


Monday, February 11, 2008

Jodha Akbar - the magic of A R Rahman

Jodha Akbar
Have been waiting to write this ever since I got my hands on this CD on Jan 19th but an India trip and a hectic work-week on return have delayed this ...

The wait has been so long. The music was rumored for a Oct 07 release...then Nov..then Dec..finally it hit the stands on Jan 19. Has it been worth the wait ?

O yeah !!!! Rahman scores and how !!!!
In one word ...Magical two words ....Magically Brilliant.

There have been so many beautiful reviews floating around on the net that mine would probably only look too bland in comparison (should I write it???).

From the unmatched grandiose of Azeem-o-shaan to the wonderful devotional song the romantic stunner 'In Lamhon Ke Daaman' to the equally beautiful 'Jash-e-Bahara' ...finally the man himself crooning a devotional qawalli in 'Khwaja Mere Khwaja' - this album is an absolute stunner.

The first thing that stands out in this album is the crispness of sound that I have somehow been missing. The next is the beautiful use of instruments and less manufactured music (gizmuziqq as I call it). Finally the wonderful choice of voices. Brilliant !!!!

I am not going to write a review here but I wanted to mention some observations about couple of songs in this album

a) Khwaja Mere Khwaja - And you thought that a qawalli format song needs many voices. Did ya ? Well not when Rahman makes one. Each and every strain, each and every sound (human) belongs to Rahman in this song. Notice how he introduces a slight delay between two streams of the same song to make it sound like a chorus .....Genius ....Ingenious!!!!!! And I didnt even talk about the beauty of the lyrics or the music or Rahman's singing itself. I could write on and on.

b) In Lamhom Ke Daaman Mein - Trust Rahman to use Sonu Nigam's voice as elegantly as he does. Romantic numbers or Patriotic numbers in Sonu's voice and tuned by Rahman ...have a life of their own. This brilliant and unusual composition proves it yet again. This song is structurally so complex and different that again - only Rahman could have done it. Again ....I force myself to end this description here.

c) Azeem-o-Shaan - This one rocks purely for its intensity ...the Drums, the vocals ....whoa !!!'U r transported to a stage where you can almost feel the grand settings that will accompany this song on screen.

The wait for a Rahman album and the feeling once its out is just incomparable. There is simply no comparison ...nothing that even remotely comes close.

Each composition by this man...each bit is a world by itself ...its a tribute to God as Rahman puts it ...
There are a lot of things that I am thankful to in this world - probably right on top must be this man's music and the fact that I am able to appreciate and understand this. Not everyone recognizes or realises the magic and I only pray that one day ..they do.

Other stuff
Managed to get hold of 5.1 channel CD's of Boys and SOK. I wish each and every album were available in that format.

Coming soon - indian travails ......and pics from my india trip....

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy Birthday to A R Rahman

6th Jan

One more year more birthday and the magic continues ...the man ...the music ...A R Rahman.

My heartfelt wishes and prayers for the man whose name and his music spells bless.
If there is God on Earth .....then I believe that he is one of the various forms.

Wishing him all the riches and blessings that exist.

And again ..thank you for the music ....and for what you have done for millions of people through music