E r r r r r r


Vettaiyadu Vilayadu Music Review

“Karka Karka” is a very catchy rap number. The form of music chosen is quite different to sing praise about the honesty and courage of Raghavan (the character of a police) in this song. Initially I didn’t liked the rap bit that comes in the trailer which is a part of this song but know I like it. Thamarai’s lines are impressive. “Partha Muthal” has a serious “Suttum Vizhi” hang over in all section of the song, be it the melody, the rhythm, tune or the vocals (Bombay Jayshree), it is a sequel to the hit number. The only difference is the impressive mouth organ piece in the prelude. It is nice to hear Unnimenon after a long time in this song. “Manjal Veyil” has the stamp of Harris Jeyaraj. It is good peppy track. The rhythm and bass sound similar to “Endrendrum Punnagai” and “Ennai konjam” song. I like the Sax piece in the interlude as much as I like that of in “Suttum Vizhi” song. On the whole, the song sound average now but I could sense the scope for growing on repeated listening.

“Uyirilae” is a beautiful melody with a simple heartbeat like rhythm in the background all through the song. This heartbeat rhythm is like an underscore for the conversation between two hearts for which Mahalaxmi and Srinivas give soothing and expressive vocals in the fore. Interludes are done with great care. Orchestration is beautiful and takes the feel in the song to higher level. “Neruppae” has an infectious rhythm and that makes this song an instantly likeable one. I am sure this song will be a chartbuster. Arabian chants and strings add a new flavour to the song but I am not sure about its originality. On the whole, I think it is almost a hatrick for Gautam – Harris Jeyaraj combination.

Also if you care and carve for good and genuine music do listen to "Thee" and "Mudhal Mazhayae" albums.

Muthal Mazhayae Music Review

Devan Ekambaram came to Chennai to become a composer and did a pop album along with S.P.B. Charan. I remember seeing the promos of the album in Vijay TV then. I think it was some 10 years back. Then he became a singer and sang many hit numbers and even acted in a film and gave his voice for the hero of the movie “Little John”. But after doing all this, Devan returns as a composer with an album called Muthal Mazhayae. Harish Ragavendra is the other singer and he has also written the lyrics for all the songs.

It is a kind of album that we carve to listen. It is an all-melody album. There are totally 9 songs and all are beautiful refreshing melodies. Though they are melodies, Devan seems to be influenced by western music a lot. It is quite interesting to listen the way the words take different diction and expressions with western notes. As a counter point Harish Ragavendra’s vocals has a strong Indian classical influence. Such two extreme influences are beautifully harmonized in the songs to give us a unique listening experience. Both Devan and Harish have soothing vocals and their expressive rendition enhances the melody in the songs. I am surprised composers don’t give melodies to Devan. He is too good in all the melodies in this album. The format of some the songs are not the usual ones that we get to hear in film music. There are enough surprises in all the songs. We can’t predict what instrument will follow what or what form of music will fill the next interlude or how different a turn the note and style of the next line/word in the song may take. It is this surprise element that makes it a unique listening experience. One more thing that I like about the album is the way Devan has used the Bass guitar in the songs.

The most stunning number in the album is the title track, which is done in the form of a Cappella. It is one of the most beautiful melodies I have heard in recent past. Cappella is a form of music that has no backing orchestra. It is a musical piece written for voices. A main lead will sing the song and a choir backing will support the main lead. I am really impressed by the effort gone in making this song the way it is. The multi-layered choir backing is great and is perfectly in synch with the tune and mood of the main melody. There is one more version for this song with orchestral backing, which again is a great effort. One more interesting number is “Thedudhu Kangal” sung by Harish and Mahalaxmi Iyer. It is heavily inspired by the IR duets in 80’s. Initially I didn’t like this song but later liked it mainly because they have understood and adapted IR’s style really well. All other songs are equally good among which I felt “Iravugal” is a little boring song though the melody is good. The lyrics by Harish are pretty good and decent enough to carry the melody in the song. “Muthal Mazhayae” is as beautiful and fresh as first drop of rain.


Thee - The Fire Within

The boys of Encore have got all the basic elements of composing right. They have come out with a rocking album with songs of different genre of music though rock (predominant usage of electric guitars) form takes a little edge over the other. With the help of musicians like Sivamani, Amalraj and few others whom they give credits as their mentors, they have done great job in using the instrumental pieces played by these musicians by putting them at right places in almost all the songs in the album. The most likeable thing about the album is the way they have beautifully built the layers one over the other in preludes and interludes of the songs. The layers in harmony and nice orchestration make us feel ecstatic when we listen to them. Also they have tried different sounds and fusion and it has worked out well.

The album starts with an electrifying rock number “Thee”. A very catchy one and the special live percussions by Sivamani take the song to greater heights. The electric guitar playing the tune of “Ayigiri Nandhini” in the interludes is a nice idea and the tune sounds great in this new form. Then comes a melody “Thai Polavae” with sweet vocals of Chinmayi. It is a beautiful melody with nice lyrics and a haunting violin piece. But I feel the melody would have got better and more recognizable if it were sung in a little higher pitch. Or may be the monotonous beats in the background were comparatively heavy and loud as the pitch of the voice is very low. “Dinam Dinam” is a peppy western number. Devan is the apt choice for this song. The guitar interludes are great especially the one which starts in western and ends with carnatic notes. “Enthan Uyire” is a yet another good melody. Prasanna’s soothing vocals and expressive singing enhances the beauty of the song. Prasanna is for sure a talent to look out for.

“Thee” theme track is six minutes of non-stop blast. It is brilliantly composed and performed musical piece. It starts with a very unusual violin piece in a low key followed by sitar, flute and electric guitar each playing a catchy tune. The main rhythm and percussions that connects all these pieces maintains the pace, rhythm and keeps up the liveliness of the track. “Pattikattu Mappillai” reminds me “Rambam bam” song. It just adds to the variety in the album. As I said, they have got the basics of this genre right. “Ulagathin” is one song that would have rocked Tamilnadu if it were used in a movie. The infectious Nadhaswaram piece with synth rhythms and Thavils beats along with Manicka Vinayagam’s rustic vocals make this track an irresistible one. In “Askku Buskku”, they have tried to stuff too many elements in a single pack. The tune is ordinary. Yet the track is listenable for the surprising twists and turns it takes from one form to another form of music. Summing up, Encore proves that they have a fire within with their debut album “Thee”.

Private (Pop) Albums in Tamil

Malgudi Subha’s “Vaalpaarai Vattaparai”, Anuradha Sriram’s “I am a modern ponnu”, Veenai Gayatri’s “Pappara”, some X’s “How are you doing buddy”, Srinivas and Karthik’s “Ussele Ussele”, Lata Rajinikanth’s “Dhithimitha” are some of the pop songs that is fresh in my mind when I think of popular Tamil pop songs. And that is really negligible number. I am talking about the pathetic condition of Tamil Pop industry (there is no industry as such but yet let us call it that way) now and then.

In Hindi, there was an era where lot of great talents came to fore due to this private album concept. Though quality of the music has gone down now, Hindi pop has its own fan following. In Hindi, there are bunch of singers who hardly sing in movies but are popular and will be ever remembered for their music and singing in private albums. I think our composers, musicians and singers should seriously think about making private albums like them. Film composers like Yuvan, Vidhyasagar, Illayaraja (has done his part with “Thiruvasakam”) and A.R.Rahman should make private albums and make the genre popular among the common people. They should make people realize film music is not the only form of music.

People should be trained to listen to music as music alone. They should not rely on the visuals, hero/heroine and dance choreography to enjoy the music. I know people listening to some of the song just because it has their favorite hero shaking his legs for the song. I just could not digest the fact that how the presence of a hero whom you like, dancing for the songs turns a bad music into a good one. Further Tamil pop will help lot of young talents to come up. Also it will help some of underutilized and underrated composers like Karthik Raja, Ramesh Vinayakam to change track and create the kind of music they want to with full freedom.

The music in movies puts lots of constraints to a composer, which leads him to produce music, which he himself doesn’t like. A composer’s talent is a waste when the director of the movie has no ear for good music. The best example in recent times is Niru. I really liked most of his songs in his debut private album “Moongil Nila” but he couldn’t deliver same quality of music for the movie “Kalabha Kadhalan”. Yes, there are composers who take those constraints as challenge and come up with triumph. But I am not talking about great composers/ geniuses here. I am talking about fresh new talents with good-enough composing capabilities those who don’t get a good chance to exhibit all his talents through his music for a movie.

Why I am talking about this now? Last month I got really frustrated for wasting lot of money in buying movie soundtracks which didn’t live up to the expectations. I decided to try something different and I bought “Mudhal Mazhayae” and “Thee”. Both are private albums. “Mudhal Mazhayae” is by Devan (Composer + Singer) and Harish Ragavendra. “Thee” is by a band called “Encore”. Both are far better albums in freshness and experimentation comparing to the movie soundtracks that got released last month. I mean both the albums are worth of every penny you spend on them. The problem is how many of you know that such albums are getting released now and then. Even I didn’t know. There are lots of private albums in Tamil I come across when I go to music stores like Landmark and Music World.

There should be enough publicity, at least one song should be visualized and given to channels like SS Music and Sun Music channels to be played repeatedly to create some publicity. Audio clips can be given to FM Radio channels. The audio companies should come forward and encourage such products. With quality music and apt marketing technique, I think it is quite possible to make people buy private albums. Last year, SS Music had a talent contest and the winners released an album much like that of Indian Idol. But I think the music wasn’t great enough and that is why I said quality with apt marketing technique would play the trick. Of course, even pop songs needs visuals to make it popular but that is just because you can’t just play the song with a blank screen in TV channels to publicize the album and also presence of a big star will definitely boost the sales of the album. I heard Devan saying in an interview that they have made Videos for four songs in the album and they are soon to be aired in private channels for promoting the album. Let us see how it works out. I will write a review on both these albums very soon.