Saturday November 30, 2013

Top recent listens (November 2013)

Posted by Karthik

November 2013 has been one of the best months in recent memory – so many good songs, across languages!

Ishq di booti, Laage re nain & Tori chab – Coke Studio, Season 6 – Episode 2
Looks like Coke Studio is picking up its impressive creds from the fairly disappointing first episode – this one has just 3 songs and all 3 are stunningly good! The brass band and Serbian house band behind Ishq di booti are spellbinding, adding a fresh new layer to Abrar’s already captivating sufi tune! Ayesha Omar is equally good in Laage re nain, the Bhoopali-based slow burner, while the abhogi-based Tori chab is the show-stopper with mesmerizing fusion added to Rustam Fateh Ali Khan’s part via Sumru Ağıryürüyen’s Turkish parts and an equally intriguing orchestral fusion! This episode is Coke Studio truly living up to its phenomenal legacy!

Gimme your love, Face of danger, Call it love, Under the love, Make believer, Release me now & To be – Head Up High (Morcheeba)
I first came across Morcheeba’s music when the French music channel MCM was on air in India. It used to be my favoritest (!) TV channel of that time – any time I tune into it, I used to discover at least one stand-out, exotic, eclectic song/band… all the time! It was, in my view, the dream music channel and eons ahead of assembly-line music channels like MTV or Channel V, both of which are barely music channels anymore.

Anyway, Morcheeba is one of the acts I discovered via MCM and I’m really glad to see them releasing their new album! These are iTunes days and I don’t need a MCM to alert me on such acts anymore! The new album is very much the band’s sound – trip-hop… uptempo, funky and very playfully catchy! If I were to do a MIlliblog review, this would be a 300 worder!

Onakkaaga poranthaene & Enakkaaga porandhaaye – Pannaiyaarum Padminiyum (Tamil – Justin Prabhakaran)
Considering I have written extensively about this (these two songs) song, just head here!

Melam moge & Raja ra – Billa Ranga (Telugu – Santosh Narayanan)
Santosh Narayanan’s Telugu debut is very impressive. He carries the kind of quirky sound he is known for very well in Telugu too… and goes a step ahead too, with Melam moge, a highly stylised and catchy song, not to forget the amusing video!

The entire album! – Jag Changa (The Raghu Dixit Project)
Raghu Dixit Project’s sophomore effort is fantastic. In a way, it seems to be showcasing how Indipop albums needs to start looking at the genre – one language album may really not be future, given how many languages we have and how divisive album success is in a country like ours. So, you have Kannada, Hindi and a Tamil song too. But the languages don’t seem forced – they flow so naturally all across the album and have that pan-Indian appeal that many Indipop albums seriously miss.
Sample the album and buy it off OKlisten, here!

Enna enna idhu & Koothadikkudhu – Azhagu Magan (Tamil – James Vasanthan)
James Vasanthan continues his impressive run in lesser known/unknown films! Enna idhu is the best song, seemingly like an ode to his best song, Kangal Irandaal, from Subramaniyapuram! Koothadikkudhu is a close second, with superb singing by Shankar Mahadevan!

Thiruttu paya pulla – Thagararu (Tamil – Dharan Kumar)
For a soundtrack that supposedly had NR Raghunanthan as composer when the film’s trailer was released earlier this year, it’s odd to see Dharan’s name as composer now. Anyway, Thiruttu paya pulla is the soundtrack’s best, following Dharan’s tradition of modifying even Karthik’s impeccable voice, but set to a catchy outlook.

Thapeswaram kaja & Hey vinaraa – Naa Rakumarudu (Telugu – Achu)
Good, foot-tapping hiphop sound in Hey vinaraa, reminiscent of Yuvan’s sound, while Thapeswaram kaja is a fantastic mix moving across kuthu and something decidedly more modern!

Kannu kannali & Priyamani – Angaraka (Kannada – Arjun Janya)
The Kaanada’ish base in Kannu kannalli works beautifully, Arjun invoking his Rahman-style sound a bit too directly. Priyamani is his trademark, sung by himself and set to a addictive tune and rythm combo!

Jiya teri & Sri Krishna – Bajarangi (Kannada – Arjun Janya)
If I look beyond the mass-appeal song like Bossu nam bossu, Arjun is holds his own even in a Shivrajkumar film, producing beautiful melodies like Jiya teri and Sri Krishna. I look forward to Arjun moving to other South Indian languages like Tamil and Telugu – he has earned it!
Listen to the songs, here.

En kanimalare & Vinnile tharakam – Philips and the Monkey Pen (Malayalam – Rahul Subrahmanian)
Remya Nambeesan’s brother Rahul makes a very confident debut in Philips and the Monkey Pen! No, the sound isn’t path-breakingly new and is something that I could easily mistake for say, Shaan Rahman’s music – but that’s not something bad, given that this is his debut. I look forward to more from him!

Theerathe neelunne, Thazhvaram & Thaazhe nee – Thira (Malayalam – Shaan Rahman)
Shaan’s great run with Vineeth Srinivasan continues, as if they can’t go wrong at all! Here’s a great combo that completely get each other, consistently!

Gandi baat, Saree ka faal & Dhoka dhadi – R… Rajkumar (Hindi – Pritam)
This is a soundtrack from Pritam that could give the South Indian composer a run for their money! They may seem frivolously kuthu, but there’s no denying that the songs are incredibly catchy! And then Dhoka dhadi breaks that flow with its gorgeous melody!

Ennatha solla & Sethu po – Vizha (Tamil – James Vasanthan)
If Ennatha solla is Imman-repackaged (in Imman’s current, successful style, with some unique elements added by James too!), Sethu po extends a concept first explored by director Thirumugan in Em Magan (Emdan magan), where they showcased the idea of family members waiting for a really old person in the family to die – not in a gruesome way, but in a dark-humor’ish way. Sethu po seems like the song-version of the idea, imaginatively penned by Madhan Karky!

Ranga ranga – Ivan Veramathiri (Tamil – C Sathya)
Sathya knows what works for him, based on his previous movies. And he does that rather well in Ranga ranga – that sound is very Sathya, but not something that he can sustain for long. Fun, for now!

The entire album! – Matters of the Heart (Sandeep Chowta)
The other 300 worder Indipop/non-film album of November, besides Raghu Dixit Project’s Jag Changa, interestingly from another Bengaluru huduga, Sandeep Chowta! But this one’s ambitiously international in outlook and is the most accomplished work from Sandeep yet! I really hope Sony promotes this well and gets it the deserved reach. The entire album is a delight – if you want to start with one song, try Dichotomy Love, with a superb Charukesi-based violin making a killing!
Listen to the songs here on Dhingana and buy it via iTunes, here.

Doore doore & Pavizhamundhiri – Geethanjali (Malayalam – Vidyasagar)
Oddly, Vidyasagar recycles two songs from his own 2008 Hindi film (by Priyadarshan, like Geethanjali) and both the tunes continue to work even in Malayalam. The man still has a lot to achieve and I just hope he gets the opportunities to do so, in any language, not just Malayalam where he usually does rather well consistently.

Shine my shoes, Go gentle, Swings both ways, Dream a little dream, Soda pop, Puttin’ on the ritz & Minnie the moocher – Swings Both Ways (Robbie Williams)
Robbie’s 2001 album was Swing When You’re Winning and the man’s back with a bang with Swings Both Ways in 2013! The sound is consistently big band and thoroughly engaging tunes, along with some standout collaborations including Lily Allen, Olly Murs, Kelly Clarkson and Michael Buble. Great sound, even better vocals and a superb album!

Requeim, Let me go, Face to face, Since I saw you last, Dying inside & The song I’ll never write – Since I Saw You Last (Gary Barlow)
Robbie’s ex-Take That band member, Gary Barlow also has a new album – but it is decidedly less impressive in comparison. It is occasionally good, no doubt, thanks to some of the collaborations he invokes here – Elton John and Keane’s Tim Rice. The much-battered Mumford And Sons’ish Let me go isn’t all that bad… really!

En jeevane & Neeyo njano – Chewing Gum (Malayalam – Jonathan Bruce)
Jonathan Bruce’s Malayalam debut seems relatively low-key, but these two songs promise that this man has something worth looking forward too. Both songs depend heavily on Naresh Iyer’s accomplished vocals and deliver the goods well!

Kaatiley poomanam – Kathaveedu (Malayalam – M Jayachandran)
Riding wonderfully on the magical voice of Shweta Mohan, Jayachandran creates an intriguingly haunting song here! The piano is lovely too – Malayalam music does produce such one-off winners so often these days, except for the fact that they all release only on YouTube and not in any other form!

Parayathey – Rasputin (Malayalam – Roby Abraham)
A lovely, guitar-led song sung oh-so-well by Sachin Warrier. The whispery vocals go well with the minimal and simple tune!

Tose naina – Mickey Virus (Hindi – Hanif Shaikh)
This is one of the soundtracks I missed when it released earlier (the other one being Ishk Actually, which I didn’t quite like). But Hanif Shaikh-composed Tose naina is a pretty good song, thanks largely to Arijit Singh’s singing.

Chillam chillida – Pottas Bomb (Malayalam – Mohan Sithara)
Vineeth Srinivasan reprises his most famous song – Ente khalbile – almost… in this song, with a tune that seems to be based on a very similr raaga. He does sound occasionally awkward here, but Mohan Sithara smoothens things out to create a listenable song!

Kona kondakkaari – Madha Yaanai Koottam (Tamil – NR Raghunanthan)
Raghunanthan borrows a page from Imman for Kona kondakkari. With good vocals by the film’s producer GV Prakash Kumar, the song works quite easily!

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