Hitman – October 31, 2015

Originally published in The Hindu.

Eppo varuvaaro – Oru naal koothu (Tamil – Justin Prabhakaran)
Justin Prabhakaran, who made an impressive debut with Pannayaarum Padminiyum, produces a cracker of a soundtrack for Oru Naal Koothu. The highlight of the album is easily Eppo Varuvaaro. Yes, it is that Gopalakrishna Bharathi song, but Justin subverts the song’s convention – what is usually sung in raaga Jonpuri, he opts for what seems like a reimagination in raaga Hamir Kalyani! The result, in Haricharan’s brilliant rendition, is sheer magic, making a beautifully light pop sound out of a very familiar song!

Suns have gone – Album: Electronica 1 – Time Machine (Jean-Michel Jarre, featuring Moby)
Much like Giorgio Moroder’s recent comeback, featuring contemporary stars as collaborators, French electronic music pioneer from the 70s, Jean-Michel Jarre gets back into the scene after 8 years with some high-profile collaborators like Tangerine Dream, Armin van Buuren, Pete Townshend, Moby, Massive Attack, Air, Vince Clarke and John Carpenter. The sound is easily accessible, almost as if re-introducing Jarre to a new, younger audience. Suns Have Gone, featuring Moby is the pick of the album, with its bouncy sound recalling the No More Brothers Mix of Freddie Mercury’s Living on my own.

Kurum padamae – Vil Ambu (Tamil – Navin)
After Arul Murugan’s turn as Arrol Correlli, Kalyana Samayal Saadham’s composer Arrora comes back again as Navin (his real name!) in Vil Ambu. He ropes in 3 composers to sing his 3 songs, and interestingly, the songs sound like something they—Anirudh, G.V.Prakash Kumar and D.Imman—themselves may have composed. The best of the lot is Kurum padamae, sung by G.V.Prakash Kumar and Vandana Srinivasan, with Navin throwing a googly in the 2nd interlude. It could easily be mistaken from Veyyil’s soundtrack, with its charming, breezy sound. Lyricist Madan Karky cleverly acknowledges the role of short films (Kurum Padam) in recent Tamil cinema history by using it as an unusual metaphor for the girl!

Thangamey – Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (Tamil – Anirudh)
Starting with just guitar, Anirudh builds on Thangamey’s sound progressively well, particularly a really well-placed violin solo by Ananthakrishnan that plays out amidst a rock base! The tune is instantly catchy, including an anupallavi that goes interestingly off tangent. In fact, despite the song’s standard length, Anirudh retains only an anupallavi and uses the rest of the song to showcase the violin, to great effect! The lyrics, that Anirudh articulates well in his usual style adds to the overall song’s appeal.

Kannamma – Ko 2 (Tamil – Leon James)
Kannamma starts off like a soft melody, but the frenetic breakbeats that kick-in eventually add a fantastic layer to the song, aptly expressed by UK-based Sri Lankan singer Inno Genga and Chinmayi. The melody is highly engaging and the Kannamma call-out is a lovely touch. The song’s other, mellow version gets a beautiful new dimension with Salim Merchant’s solo rendition, and the way Leon articulates the backgrounds, to appeal to the new variant, is wonderfully nuanced.