8.21.2007

Rahman and Me on a Nostalgic Trip



2000-word blog post becomes 18000-word e-book



Memoirs of a Rahmaniac is a celebration of twenty years of omnipresence of AR Rahman's music in Sureshkumar's life.

Buy Memoirs of a Rahmaniac

Zip file contains e-book in all major formats: mobi (Kindle), epub (Nook, Kobo, Sony, iBooks), and PDF.

Reviews

"Speechless."

"Lost for Words."

"I had tears in my eyes."

"I think we should share this with Rahman and I cannot imagine how happy he would be."

"Read it twice. What a nostalgic trip, just that u had taken it for me too."

"You made me cry with Nostalgia."

"I can't believe I had a very similar journey as a Rahmaniac."

"Stunned!"

"Excellent. This is the story of many Rahmaniacs, especially people nearing 30."

More Reviews..

More Reviews..

8.14.2007

Ooh la la la - Second Quarter Finals

‘Ooh La La La’ gets better with each and every episode mainly because the each and every participating band really rock. The bands participated in second quarter finals are Route 10, Innovusion and Oxygen. All the six songs good or better were well performed. Oxygen was declared the winner which again raised lot of questions about what they are really looking for in a band.

The original composition of Innovusion and Route 10 were way better than that of Oxygen. I think it is the collective performance that matters more than the quality of the song. Kalyani of Route 10 gave a jaw dropping performance in the original composition round. Also they dared to choose a classic like Illayaraja’s ‘Nee Partha Parvaikku’ song to remix in the second round and what a remix it was. They jazzed it a bit and created a new tune of the song which doesn’t actually deviate much from the original and yet sounded something fresh. But the reason given for their elimination is the ending of the remix song which I thought was done in a more matured way but not a live performance friendly ending.

If they want only performers then their choice is justified but if they want to introduce someone who could create a new idiom of music then Oxygen is far behind Route 10 or even Innovusion. I liked Innovusion’s original composition which was a pure instrumental throughout with little vocals but that itself turned as a negative point for them. I didn’t like their remix of ‘Poongatru’ song and this is where the Oxygen got an edge over Innovusion. Oxygen performed ‘Thaniyae thanan thaniyae’ song really well. It is nice to lisen remix of the new songs instead of add a bass and rock drum beats to the old song kind of remixing. The little celtic deviation didn’t gel well with the overall sound of the song but liked the jathis running all though.

Can’t wait to watch the next episode.

Btw, Here is my new composition.

8.12.2007

Bheema Sondtrack

Harris Jeyaraj is the one with highest success rate among his contemporaries. The reason is that he constantly delivers songs with simple, easy, catchy rhythms and melodies that instantly hook the casual listeners. Who cares about innovation and experimentation? What a casual moviegoer or a casual music listener wants is an immediately head shakable tune and that is what Harris delivers again and again with utmost success. Harris’s songs are crowd pleasing spoon feeds than ground breaking experimentations. The maximum experiment you can find in his songs is the way he uses different meaningless vocal sounds and words instead of a humming or a ‘lalala’ version of the tune in the interludes and preludes.

Apart from the fact that Harris is in fine form in Bheema, what I am surprised the most about is the beauty of songs with simple and minimal orchestration and clearly audible lyrics. No song has too many instruments or sounds or loops overlapping. At the maximum you can listen four layers running in parallel and that applies even to the only folk number ‘Rangu Rangamma’ (which usually is deliberately made to be loud) in an otherwise all-melody soundtrack. Infact Harris throws some surprises in this song by going completely western classical in the interludes which is otherwise a folk number.

One big relief is that I didn’t get a sounds-like feel in any of the songs in the soundtrack which was an ordinary thing to happen when you listen to a Harris’s soundtrack for the first time. Also there are no usual Harris’s clich├ęs like club beats or stylized singing except for few strange humming here and there. The hero introduction songs of Harris’s are always unusually more techno and sophisticated than any others and like ‘Karka Karka’ from ‘Vettaiyadu Vilayadu’, ‘Oru Mugamo’ is an effective hero introduction song without much ado. Krish definitely is coming out of his effeminate singing style and this song is a proof of it.

It is good to hear singers like Hariharan in two pleasant melodies of the soundtrack. So ‘Enadhuyirae’ is the long promised song in Harris’s composition for the Airtel super singer winner ‘Nikhil Mathew’. He makes an impressive debut. But why the breathing sounds in between the lines are so deliberately and distractingly loud. Is it to prove that the singers have sung these lines in a single take without punches or is it the side effects of having a crystal clear sound mix?

Harris’s Bheema is a strong and solid hit material.

8.09.2007

Ooh la la la Quarter Finals

I don’t know on what basis they have grouped 18 bands into 6 groups with 3 bands each. The problem of having such groups is that some very good band may fall into the same group and since it is mandatory to eliminate two groups in each episode, some really good talents may get eliminated. If there is any rule or logic based on which the grouping of bands is done, they could have mentioned it.

The first episode of quarter finals rocked. ‘Agam’ who performed extremely well missed out because of tough competition from ‘V3’. (You can listen to agam's bautiful original composition which they performed in the competition here in Harish's blog). Though V3 was good, lyrics were barely audible. For the sake of showing their versatility in singing, I think the lead singers of V3 went little overboard with rough singing in the original composition. If they continue the same rough singing in all type of songs, it may soon become repetitive and boring.

8.08.2007

Hearty Congrats to Baradwaj



On this happy occasion, I just wanted to list down some of my favourite articles (may not be the best) written by Baradwaj Rangan. His reviews are to-the-point yet eloborate, well balanced, comprehensive and knowledgable write-ups. Some of his expressions and explanations and the way he puts some facts about music and movies beautifully have moved me to tears (I am being emotional or exaggerating anything here). His reviews are like music to me. These are reviews which I have gone back to re-read many many times.

Iruvar and Tamil Cinema.... – One has to be a Tamilian to understand what this articles means to us. The perspective with which BR brings in an analogy between the movie and 75 years old Tamil film Industry along with detailed review of the movie is what that makes this piece of writing as the most special one.

Virumandi, Pudupettai – This is how a balanced writing should be. Though he was so happy with the movie, he rightly points out the flaws. Mostly when something unconventional becomes successful like ‘Virumandi’, most of the so called critics will turn cynics. But BR was never cynical, he has always been logical.

Madras Male – For precisely echoing what was running in the minds of Millions of tamil fans of Director Maniratnam after the release of movie ‘Guru’.

The King and I – It was an article written for Illayaraja’s 60th birthday. Exactly the same thoughts of mine about Illayaraja. Ebout each and every line in this write-up reflects my thoughts about IR music and I was emotionally moved when I read it. Same applied to his review on Cheeni Kum soundtrack.

Omkara – This one was an example of how to write a review informing people about what they could have missed while watching the movie. The interpretation, perspectives and reading between lines, you could see a critic doing his job to utmost perfect in Omkara review. I loved the movie more after reading his review and that is how a critic’s writing should be.

8.02.2007

Music not just for Ears



My friends often tell me that I spend too much time in listening to music. Listening to music is not a problem but they say listening continuously in Ipod with ear phones could bring lot of problems to my ear drums. Though I didn’t take these advices seriously, I realized that they have a point. I often fear about what would happen to my life if I become deaf someday. I couldn’t even think of such a situation. But recently I found that I already have a solution for this problem which infact I posted in this blog before.

I am no Beethoven to compose music inspite of being a deaf but at least I can feel and listen to music in my mind. It may not bring the same effect as it would if I have the ability to hear but at least I can console myself now.

Nowadays, there is this technique of playing the songs in my mind. Believe me, it is a very good meditation which will definitely improve our concentration levels in other activities. But when listening to music in my mind, instead of listening to just the main tune of the song, I try to listen to all the layers in the orchestration. It is really tough but I believe if the music is good, every single note of the score will stick to our mind.

Doing meditation was always a problem for me. Meditation is nothing but concentrating on one particular thing. I found meditation easy when I close my eyes and listen to the songs in my mind. It is more effective than meditating with music playing in the background. Has anyone done this before? If not try it out and tell me how it felt.