Sunday October 5, 2014

Milliblog monthly multilingual music reco – September 2014

Posted by Karthik

Bombay Makossa – Chingari (Ranjit Barot, U Shrinivas, Etienne Mbappe)
I came to know about this album 15 days before Shrinivas passed away and was waiting for the mid-September release date given that it has both Ranjit Barot and Shrinivas in it. Unfortunately, we saw the untimely demise of Shrinivas 3 days after the album released. I forgot to buy the album on the day of the release since I was in hectic work-related travel then, but when the news of Shrinivas’s death arrived on Twitter first, I was instantly reminded of this album that I missed. I rushed to iTunes and bought the album right away. I’m deinfitely not qualified enough to write a review for this album, or would need to spend a LOT more time researching the nuances and raagas used in the album, but at the outset, it sounds phenomenal to me… is all I can say. Shrinivas mandolin lietrally is the soul of the album, or at least the most notable and identifiable element.
Buy the album on iTunes, Amazon or Bandcamp.
More on the album, here.

Aao na, Bismil, Khul kabhi, Do jahaan & Jhelum – Haider (Hindi – Vishal Bhardwaj)
One of the best soundtracks in Hindi, in recent times. The soundtrack is amazing, both on its own and on screen, complementing the script. I’ve a special soft corner for film makers who can also compose and there are not many like this – this sort of multi-tasking and being good at both is bloody rare… and amazing!

Ocean To Ocean – Susmit Sen Chronicles
That the album released is news to very few, sadly. But the good thing out of it is that there’s a new online label for indie music – Songdew! I notice many, many artists in Songdew, besides a fairly well-established system for online music buying (most songs priced at a very reasaonble Rs.15, much like OKlisten) and also artist promotion. I had to get this off my chest – I have never been able to comprehend or enjoy Indian Ocean’s music (one reason why I ddi not review their new album, Tandanu), but I find it extremely odd that I happen to like Susmit Sen’s music much more easily and readily. Like this album, as also his debut solo (Susmit Sen Chronicles) album, Depths of the Ocean. Songs like Eighth and a Half, Ocean to Ocean, Serendipity are fantastic listens!
Sample the songs and/or buy it from Songdew.

Poo avizhum, Prabhalamaagavey & Endi ippadi – Enakkul Oruvan (Tamil – Santhosh Narayanan)
As I have already said, Santhosh is the most exciting composer in India, today, for me. He gives me the same high that I recall having, waiting for Rahman albums in the 90s. That bated breath-level waiting on what the composer has in store for me this time, with each album. Of course, people like Rahman, Amit Trivedi, Sunny M.R etc. do that for me, but Santhosh’s consistency in surprising with out-of-the-box inventiveness is staggering! Endi ippadi is a glowing example of this!

Meherbaan, Uff, Tu meri & Title song – Bang Bang (Hindi – Vishal-Shekhar)
I still recall the phenomenal score the duo put together for Siddharth Anand’s earlier dud, Anjaana Anjaani, and it looks like they have good ‘tuning’ between them. The title song is a particularly groovy listen!

Clouds, U Know & Breakfast can wait – Art Official Age (Prince)
The man who was a symbol earlier is now back in his own name… and releases 2 albums at the same time – Art Official Age and PlectrumElectrum. The latter is a complete washout with everything being utterly banal and preditable (Prince is backed by a 3-woman rock trio, 3rdEyeGirl in this one). The former too is only moderately interesting, disappointingly so. Of the 13 tracks, I could find just these 3 songs worth my time… they’re pretty cool and funky though, transporting you back in time.

Telipotunna, Anthe premanthe & Andari rathalu – Dikkulu Choodaku Ramayya (Telugu – M.M.Keeravani)
It’s hard to believe M.M.Keeravani has 217 albums to his credit – this is his 218th, it seems! To see him offer tough competition to newbies like Santhosh Narayanan by doing what they would have done, in his own style, is a delight! Telipotunna is something I’d have guessed as Santhosh’s music, if I hadn’t known the composer’s name!

Aaramagiri – Bahaddur (Kannada – V.Harikrishna)
A rather Harris Jayaraj’ish track – no, not the jaded current Harris, but the earlier, reasonably interesting Harris 🙂 Playful and catchy at the same time, with a simple hook to root for.

Manam kothi – Kalkandu (Tamil – Kannan)
A decent enough melody, made better by Haricharan. Precitable interludes (Yuvan’ish), but overall, good listen.
Listen to the song on Saavn.

Arziyaan – Jigariyaa (Hindi – Raj-Prakash)
The one song that bubbled up from the very, very predictable soundtrack with multiple composers. Vikrant Bhartiya sings this one pretty well, and even the breezy, but templatized, tune easily works.
Listen to the song on Saavn.

Benjilaga vacchindira, Pada pada – Kai Raja Kai (Telugu – J.B)
Revanth and Rajesh handle the friends-singing-about-lou trope in JB’s rhythmic tune well in the former, while the the latter is a rarity these days – a heroine-seduction song, an obvious one at that! Umaneha sings it in a whispery voice to remove all doubt about the heroine’s intentions, but this a good tune and orchestrated well too!
Listen to the songs on Saavn.

Devathai & Verarum – Poojai (Tamil – Yuvan Shankar Raja)
After Saami, where Harris Jeyaraj produced a wonderful soundtrack, most of Hari’s films have music that gets lost as fast as the films’ hero traveling in black Scorpios. Poojai is no exception – stale, and almost by-the-books music, though Yuvan is smart enough to infuse some life even here, much like (or, several degrees lesser) his dad used to do for dud directors and their dud scripts back in the 80s.

Sach kahoon, Kismat se & Khatta meetha – Raunaq (Indipop – A R Rahman)
I was dreading this collaboration of Rahman with a person like Kapil Sibal, of all the people, with his political motivations, general pointlessness and meaningless posturing, but really glad that the composer in Rahman completely salvages the album, along with a set of stellar singers.
Sample music from Raunaq and buy, on iTunes.

Hey sutrum bhoomi, Kaligalam, Yaar & Yaarum paarkama – Nerungi Vaa Muthamidathe (Tamil – Madley Blues)
After a fairly odd debut in Sutta Kadhai, I did not expect the Madley Blues duo to make such a tremendous comeback. This 4-song album is a cracker throbbing with energy!

Aathi, Pakkam vanthu & Selfie pulla – Kaththi (Tamil – Anirudh)
I would have expected Anirudh’s first outing for a Vijay film to be even more explosive (like Imman’s 2nd with Vijay, in Jilla), but that was not to be. It’s generally a good album, but when Anirudh is made to do things out of his comfort range, like that family-song that only S A Rajkumar has mastered so far (Paalam), things fall apart dramatically. These 3 songs are lively enough though.

Ra ra rowdy, Yentha vaaru, Aa seetadevi & Yedo – Rowdy Fellow (Telugu – Sunny M.R and Anil R)
I’d love to see more from Sunny M.R – people outside Andhra hardly even know about his existence. For a change, oddly enough, for no explainable reason, I think he’d suit really really well in Malayalam cinema.

Pilla & Padahaarellainaa – Current Theega (Telugu – Achu)
Has Achu signed a life-long deal with the Mohanbabu family? Why is he only doing their films? Given that he has shown his skills even in Tamil (the severely under-rated Maalai Pozhudhin Mayakathile), he’s only getting better, though mired in projects like this where he has to compose several average songs to bubble up gems like these Padahaarellainaa.

Manwa laage & Dance like a chamiya – Happy New Year (Vishal-Shekhar)
No, I dodn’t expect anything out of a Farah Khan film and she doesn’t disappoint at all. This is as templatized as it can get, a veritable tick-the-boxes kind of soundtrack, plus her trademark mish-mash songs that combines multiple songs into one. It’s getting tiresome now.

Gulabi, Ra rakumara & Prathi chota – Govindudu Andarivadele (Telugu – Yuvan Shankar Raja)
After Thirudan Police, Yuvan delivers well, not in Tamil, (or in Hindi – Raja Natwarlal was so standard-issue other composers’ stuff, not even Yuvan’s!), but in Telugu. It’s also surprising that director Krishna Vamsi has been flirting with composers randomly – his last 6 films had 6 different composers (including one Tamil import – Vijay Antony, for Mahatma). Good to him getting good results with Yuvan.

Aila, Pookkalae & Mersalaayitten – I (Tamil – A R Rahman)
As a standalone soundtrack, much like Endhiran, I felt I was very average. I’m sure the songs, again like Endhiran, would come magically alive on screen, given Shankar’s penchant for extravagant song picturisations (the best in India?). But of course, if the soundtrack is released before the film and we have the opportunity to only ‘listen’ to them, this is merely an average soundtrack.

Ovvondrai thirudugirai, Oru rosa & Sangi mangi – Jeeva (Tamil – D.Imman)
Imman continues to surprise… and enthrall! The Raja’esque turn in Ovvondrai is mind-boggling – it took me right back to Raja’s 80s music!
Listen to the songs on Saavn.

Ek mulaqat & Gannu rocks – Sonali Cable (Hindi – Amjad-Nadeem & Mikey McCleary)
That this multi-composer album sounds pretty good is testimony to the films producer’s – Rohan Sippy – music sense, given hos consistently he has managed to extract good music from assorted composers for all his productions/films! His loyalty to Mikey McCleary too is a good deal, given that he gets some great music out of the jingle-man!

Uchi mala pillayare – Kannakol (Tamil – Bobby)
If this is the same Bobby who composed for films like Sollamale and Nesam Pudhusu, I do wonder where he vanished! This album is mighty sub-standard, overall, but this song stands out with a breezy tune and something that may have been sung by Mano ina different era (here it is sung by Haricharan). The Pallavi and Anupallavi reek of Raja style and are pretty melodious!

Nenjilaara, Ishqwala & Veyilpoyal – Bhaiyya Bhaiyya (Malayalam – Vidyasagar)
A Vidyasagar, that too in Malayalam, always would have something interesting! Nenjilaara is a pleasant surprise, incorporating Bengali lines beautifully with Malayalam lines. Even Ishqwala has has generous Bengali peppered throughout and has a catchy tune reminiscent of Raja of 80s that’s almost a Vidyasagar trademark now. Veyilpoyal is yet another trademark Vidyasagar goodness that can easily be used for any Tamil hero – fantastic title hook and a pleasant, easy-on-the-ears tune. The song picturisation took me all the way back to Naseeb, where Rishi Kapoor tries to manage a drunk Amitabh! 🙂 Also, I so, so wish Satyam Music (Malayalam) bothers enough to add full singer credits in their juekbox – they have nothing here, sadly.

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