Gondhal – Bandish Projekt featuring McMawali


Obviously timed with the [now past] Ganpati festivities, “Gondhal” – the song’s name – speaks of an established Maharastrian religious rite involving singing and dramatic performance, a description that also lends itself to the sounds of Bandish Projekt on this track, with the core member of the band consisting of Mayur Narvekar as composer, producer, DJ, performer, and multi-instrumentalist. “Gondhal” features high speed vocals by Mayur and Aklesh Sutar, with Viveick Rajagopalan and Dharmesh Chauhan supporting the rhythm section. For those not accustomed to fast tempo, on-the-floor rhythmic beats, synth sounds and, in this instance, accompanied by Indian instrumentation, “Gondhal” is not for those with soft heartbeats but, if you are into electronica/house music, this track is probably for you!

Listen and Download the songs here: http://www.artistaloud.com/BandishProjektFeatMcMawali

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Xuworoni – Prarthana Choudhury


Guwahati-born Prarthana Choudhury has been a singer since childhood, including being trained by the late Pandit Karuna Shankar Thakuria, and her past is now a present for her future, as can be gauged on ‘Xuworoni’, an EP consisting of three tracks. “Aamar Gaor” is an easy listening, mid-tempo song; “Ejaak Moloya” has more of an Indian classical dab with tabla as its key instrumentation; but the pick of the lot is “Tumo Bujano Kiman” [composed by Anuraag Saikia with Bishaujyoti Handique’s lyrics], a well-constructed lullaby. While there is no doubt that there are multiple talents that have supported the project, but it is Prarthana, with her precise voice and clear diction, who really shines on this fine product.

Listen and Download the songs here: http://www.artistaloud.com/prarthanachoudhury

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Storeys Unknown – Sonali Vij


Born in Delhi, and bred in New Jersey, Sonali Vij’s talent for musical instrumentation arose when she commenced playing the guitar at age 7 and has, since, written over a thousand songs. Some of them get showcased on this EP, the cleverly titled ‘Storeys Unknown’, which reminds me about the flat treatment mete out to apartment owners by builders once the building goes for redevelopment. Nevertheless, humour aside, Sonali’s alternative rock foundations remain intact on the six tracks of ‘Storeys Unknown’, with her vocals matching the compositions, and the one aspect of the EP that becomes increasingly perceptible with each listen is how romantic it feels, albeit in a somewhat unsettling manner. While the lyrics are personal and yet, paradoxically, universal, they are also straightforward and, simultaneously, a synthesis of accessible songs and abstract sounds, right from the comparatively loud “Rebel”, the acoustic ballad of “Looking Glass”, the musical consciousness of “Hypnosis”, the addiction cultivating “Lady Of Gardens”, the haunting sounds and alternating beat contained within “Welcome To My World”, to the off-balance production of “Crown Of Thorns”. Sonali is definitely a composer to reckon with, with her well-constructed Storeys ranging from daytime to bedtime!

Listen and Download the songs here: http://www.artistaloud.com/SonaliVij

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

String Of Shining Pearls – GD Prasad


A commerce graduate from Chennai and presently pursuing a masters in Advertising & Marketing in England, GD Prasad has been composing music since ten and, over the years, has worked on several English theatre productions, short films, and radio and television programmes, among other musical initiatives. A pianist, who has learnt to play drums too, he has put his compositional skills to fine usage on “String Of Shining Pearls”, which is largely instrumental – though it does contains lyrics by Gauri Gupta – wherein the so-called vocals are virtually non-existent and are, often, reminiscent of Gregorian chants. The fascination of the song is clear though, as Prasad’s production finds him venturing into multiple instrumentation with keyboards as the backbone as he combines the sounds of flute, lead guitar, violin, drums, and what sounds like the santoor, adding texture to Prasad’s composition. Although the artiste himself describes his music in the “broad genre of world/experimental music” but, to me, this is definitively reminiscent of the progressive sounds from the ’70s, moreso due to its ever changing tempos. A noteworthy effort!


Listen and Download the songs here: http://www.artistaloud.com/GDPrasad

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Dil Ki Baat – Greg & Stan


Singers, composers, and producers Greg and Stan have built their musical confidence on their past in Hindi pop to now venture into their second track for ArtistAloud with “Dil Ki Baat”. It is a song which, explain the duo [although the lyrics have been written by Greg only], is “about the nervous teenage romantic who experiences love at first sight and doesn’t have the courage to express” it [“Dil ki baat, kahoon na kahoon?/Mulakat, karoon na karoon?”]. On the musical side of things, on first listening, it surely takes time to accept the mix wherein the vocals are subdued and the instrumentation – mainly guitar, supported by a drum machine and keyboards – is upfront but, by the time you reach the song’s inevitable end, you begin to appreciate the looped beat, sultry bass groove, and subtle guitaring, placing the arrangements in perspective. Undoubtedly, every further listen to “Dil Ki Baat”, makes the song grow fonder!

Listen and Download the songs here: http://www.artistaloud.com/GregAndStan

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Wrapping Paper – Vivek Date

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When punk rock first arrived – and exploded – in the UK in the late ’70s, more than a few fans of that new genre declared that rock and roll was dead. But, no, just like vinyl continues to thrive in a digital era, rock and roll is not only alive globally, but so too in India. Credit, at least in part, must go to Mumbai-based Vivek Date who may have been predominantly a bassist but here, on his debut album named ‘Wrapping Paper’, he reve[a]ls himself as a songwriter too. Vivek has combined influences of genres ranging from blues, rockabilly, and early rock & roll – nearly all of it dating before 1955 – and approached the classic styles of the past, paradoxically with the energy and nonchalance of what was – thankfully – the short-lived punk rock, but has made his sound for a new generation, conveying that rock and roll is hard, wild, and manic fun and, yet, the production is kept simple. The eight songs here are the work of a writer who knows how to tell stories through his lyrics, which have been married to melodies that are gentle and sweet. Take the opening track, “A Boat”, for instance, an acoustic ballad; or the rockin’ “Mr. Brown”; or the very-Carl Perkins influenced “When I Was 12”; all the songs have an underlying theme of Vivek’s heartfelt music placed in a near flawless form. The obvious influences on the tracks are plain to see – the most notably being The Beatles and The Who – but they are still fresh, and with just enough seasoning to make it practically impossible to gift the roots rock and roll scene of 2015 and onward, in India, without ‘Wrapping Paper’!

Listen and Download the songs here: http://www.artistaloud.com/VivekDate

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Who Dat Girl – Roach Killa & Miss Pooja


Born in Sabah, Libya and raised in Canada, the one-time Ricky Cheema’s turning into Roach Killa gives rise to the once popular raggamuffin style: the hip-hop and dance-laced brand of reggae. Although my first memories of this subgenre of dancehall music, supported by electronic instrumentation, arrived via Apache Indian, Roach pursues it diligently on “Who Dat Girl” by juggling idiomatic influences with hip-hop-influenced production touches courtesy DJ Dips. But the appearance of Miss Pooja [born Gurinder Kaur Kainth] brings the song upto speed with the introduction of the “Mera Laung Gawacha” interlude with its Bhangra rhythms which, combined with ‘ragga’, results in “Who Dat Girl” walloping in dance beats, reggae rhythms, and rap, swirled into folk elements! That said, this is a track that is both listenable and danceable, with a fun [ap]Roach!

Listen and Download the songs here: http://www.artistaloud.com/RoachKillaMissPooja

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.


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