Archive for January, 2015

Morning Glory – Namrata Nath

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Apparently studying hotel management in Kolkata, on listening to “Morning Glory”, it makes me wonder why performer Namrata Nath is not studying music instead, although I have nothing against academics, but actually support it vehemently. Although it might appear that Namrata may have an uphill struggle in her career as a folk singer in the popular music field, her talent as a singer-songwriter is remarkable, as on “Morning Glory”, which is a refreshing piece of musical art in the burgeoning market for indie music. Namrata proves herself as a superior composer/interpreter with a clear voice, intelligently constructing contemporary folk-rock arrangements on this marvellous acoustic ditty. If the rest of her compositions are in a similar vein, may be it is time for Namrata to consider recording/releasing an album…

 

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI

Rozana – Ravi Soni

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Following a stint as a co-founder of a band named Meghdhanush, musician, composer, programmer, and keyboardist Ravi Soni pursued his career in the U.S., studying for a degree in music production at the Los Angeles Music Academy. Ravi has now embarked on a brighter and more spirited moment in his career with “Rozana” where the music features a plethora of uplifting and merry sounds, ranging from whistling to keyboards, with a piano interlude introduced for good measure, making the sound of “Rozana” charming, spirited, and delightful. “Rozana” appears to be one of those relentlessly appealing harmony-backed anthems, and Ravi’s vocal hooks are all well-nigh irresistible.

 

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI

Aankhon Se – Manie Singh

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Amritsar born, Kolkata raised Manie Singh is a man with a mission though, not necessarily, in pursuing his classical training of the Rajasthan gharana kind as can be gauged from “Aankhon Se”. The song is an amalgamation of various musical styles – noticeably, part of a colourful tapestry of a mid-tempo melody, smooth soul and pop, and alluring R&B – with instrumentation ranging from Indian to international [read Western]. Its roots harken back to sounds that you have heard before and, yet, paradoxically, “Aankhon Se” still manages to sound surprisingly fresh, and remain vibrant too, undeniably due to Manie’s voice, which makes him an artiste of potential talent and a budding star in his own right.

 

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI

Gumraah – Mannfarid

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The quintet, formed in 2012, that goes by the name of Mannfarid – apparently derived from a similar sounding Urdu word that means “unique” – live up to their name on the heavy metal produced/promoted sound here; an experiment with the band’s dual guitar sounds, courtesy Kirit Mandavgane and Onkar Tarkase, which has produced a darker, deeper, and sludgier sound than most indie content of similar genres committed to record. The multiple metal subgenres of “Gumraah” lay the sonic foundations for doom, stoner, and sludge metal, all in the space of just over five minutes. “Gumraah” has the potential of being an influential piece of work in Hindi heavy me[n]talness.

 

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI

Yo X 5 Jugni [mix] – Sunil Bhatia

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As one of the finalists of ArtistAloud’s ‘Rock Your November 2010’ campaign, and selected for ArtistAloud’s ‘First Ones’ contest, singer-composer Sunil Bhatia has a lot resting on his musical shoulders with the unlikely named “Yo X 5 Jugni [mix]”. After all, Sunil has been around for a while, providing his songs to Bollywood movies for years before he finally recorded this, and one wonders why it took him so long to do so. With obvious influences heralding reggae from popular music’s past, “Yo X 5 Jugni [mix]” seems almost tailor-made for fun, as Sunil comes across as a hopeless romantic, shifting lyrics from English to Hindi, lost in a musical skeleton of happiness [which is a good thing] with simple production and uncluttered arrangements as its backbone.

 

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI

Dharini [Khushboo Hawaein] – Parichay

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From Jabalpur arrives the talent of Parichay – consisting of tabla player Lokesh Malviya and guitarist Chitrarup Mukhopadhyay – who amalgamate predominantly keyboard music with multiple instrumentation ranging from Western guitar to santoor and tabla. The multi-layering of synthesiser/sequencer is supported by the high-pitched voice of kathak dancer turned vocalist, Purvi, leading to a clear and compelling summation of talents on “Dharini [Khushboo Hawaein]”. The depth of sound and musical vision by Parichay deserve credit on this ballad, given focus by the trance that drifts in and out of the mix, as the track progresses through several passages including a few surprisingly melodic keyboard lines. “Dharini [Khushboo Hawaein]” is an experimental piece, no doubt, but its hypnotic arpeggios may just turn it into a musical landmark over time.

 

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI

Nimadhi – Sunitha Sarathy

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Electronic soul balladry is the basis of “Nimadhi”, sung by vocalist Sunitha Sarathy. The arrangements provide a creative second wind to the sound of keyboards. Synth bass lines, glacial piano chords, and intermittent harmonies help create an engaging slice of slightly sinister synth pop where the keyboard often serves to emulate an orchestra. Pitting arrangements between the stark and the lush, and against each other too, makes “Nimadhi” dramatic, but all the pieces come together with Sunitha’s soulful voice. However, for some intriguing reason, her bio keeps harping on her talent as a gospel singer which appears to have nothing to do either with the song or Sunitha’s singing on it, and thank goodness for that!

 

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI

 

Aakash Bolechhilo – Rimita Mukherjee

 

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Heralding the relentlessly appealing pop-folk sounds of the ’70s – on the international scene, remember Lobo, Gordon Lightfoot, England Dan & John Ford Coley et al? – arrives a Bangla-sung ditty from Kolkata hailing vocalist, Rimita Mukherjee, who began her singing career in 1995, and diversified into composing ten years after.  On “Aakash Bolechhilo”, the song commences with mere whistling, followed by the scarce-to-hear-anymore harmonica, before they are joined by guitar [electric and acoustic] and the vocal hooks of Rimita, making the song close to irresistible. Taking listeners into a pop-folk vein without eclipsing the core sound of Rimita’s singing and the accompanying combination of harmonies, instrumentation, whistling, and voice provide a hauntingly beautiful excursion into the delectable sounds of “Aakash Bolechhilo”.

 

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI

 

Aaja Dhola – Himani Kapoor

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Punjabi pop has turned contemporary and is now known as Hindi hip hop if you provide singer Himani Kapoor, apparently the only female contestant on singing reality show Saregamapa in 2005, an opportunity of showcasing her crossover efforts on “Aaja Dhola”. It is deserving, with the tune providing interesting acrobatic rhymes. Much credit goes to Himani who is fairly confident that her make-it-look-easy pop-rap style has pretty much changed the Bhangra game for good. What is admirable about Himani is that she has done so without those instruments that usually accompany the sounds of Bhangra, essentially the looping rhythms of the dhol and, for instance, the tumbi, a high pitched, single string plucking instrument that was originally associated with the folk music of Punjab before giving way to Bhangra music. It is support provide by the depth of electronic instrumentation that helps define Himani’s “Aaja Dhola” as one of the better songs of the Indian hip-hop movement of the ’10s.

 

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI

Reality Insanity – Sheldon Pereira

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Having performed in various bands in and around Mumbai, musician Sheldon Pereira appears to have specialised in updating retro sounds combined with the era of new wave sounds of the ’70s as part of his solo career as well as on “Reality Insanity”.  While the song does contain Sheldon’s philosophy [about living in “a world of misery”, and advising about getting “away from this cruel world”], there is no denying that the arrangements are well executed. “Reality Insanity” is hook-filled, endlessly catchy and, above all, it is smart, infectious, and an exercise in simple fun. When is power pop legitimate anyway? Sheldon and his band fuse new wave harshness and conviction with mainstream rock textures on this purposeful and intelligently effective under-rated production by Nyzel D’Lima that works!

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI