Posts Tagged ‘ Indepenedent Music ’

Weirdness Causing Ecstasy – Subhrojyoti

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From Pune arrives singer-songwriter Subhrojyoti, a researcher by profession, but for whom music is a passion. He tackles psychedelia this time around on the appropriately titled “Weirdness Causing Ecstasy”. Any listener of songs from the ‘60s can well relate to the melody that is supported by sparse arrangements of guitar and keyboards, and it is completely divergent from any polished production that you may consider, but the virtual atmospheric sound that surrounds it, also becomes the song’s cornerstone. While Subhrojyoti’s vocals continue to have obvious limitations, they paradoxically still support the musical path that he continues to pursue, which is as varied as his compositions which have, in the past, ranged from roots, rock, to reggae.

Listen and Download the song here: http://tinyurl.com/ztqky3a

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Bahon Ke Darmiyaan – Piyush Gupta

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U.P.-based Piyush Gupta is a music director who composes music, writes lyrics, and produces catchy songs. This time around too, he provides a likeable ditty with “Bahon Ke Darmiyaan”, which is a slow starter, but soon picks up pace as the ballad changes gear into a mid-tempo guitar-cum-keyboard-based track and speaks about the third and final song of a trilogy initiated by Piyush, which commenced with “Jaanu Na Main” [about “Falling In Love”], followed by “Jane Kab Phir” [about “Missing In Love”] and, now, “Bahon Ke Darmiyaan, which celebrates “Kissing In Love” with vocals provided by Nazim Ali and Debanjali Biswas. As this reviewer has mentioned before, Piyush Gupta has become an expert of sorts for producing/arranging uncluttered pop that requires no deep thinking for enjoyment and, even though his songs/renditions may be considered light weight, nothing changes the fact that the tracks that emanate from his roster remain pleasing to the ears.

Listen and Download the song here: http://tinyurl.com/he2bm63

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Ehbaab – Sunil Kumar featuring Dalbir Virdi and Roop Sagar

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Punjab-born Sunil Kumar is a ghazal singer and composer who is also academically qualified in the musical sphere that he indulges in and, having completed his masters in music, he is apparently pursuing a doctorate in ghazals. Of course, this assists on “Ehbaab” where Sunil’s soulful voice and clear diction on the poetry of Roop Sagar, who has got his poems published across several books, combines well with music director Dalbir Virdi’s arrangements using Western instrumentation with Indian, notably santoor. All this while maintaining ghazal traditions that are closely tied both historically and by contemporary sounds that remain appropriate on this light guitar-laden, mid-tempo selection which is melodic, pleasant, and soothing.

Listen and Download the song here: http://bit.ly/2bigPDl

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Drifting Away EP – Dream Alive

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What a year it has already been for Los Angeles based quintet Dream Alive – consisting of Nikhil Koparkar aka Nik Phoeniks [vocals, keyboards], Ramon Ryder [rhythm guitar, vocals], Karan Parikh [lead guitar], Martin Fredriksson [bass], and David Myers [drummer] – as far as India is concerned. In January, two members of Dream Alive held an unplugged performance at Mumbai’s Blue Frog – namely, Nikhil and Karan – a set that included originals [mainly tracks from their EP, which is being reviewed here], their debut album, as well as covers, including a marvellous tribute to the late co-founder of Eagles, Glenn Frey, whose “Take It Easy” was memorably performed. In April, Dream Alive collected a ‘Best Video’ award at the 5th Artist Aloud Music Awards for “Don’t Say No” from their debut album, ‘Before The Dawn’ and, although members of the band were not present, the award was collected by Karan’s father, Ajay Parikh, an entrepreneur also known to play mean guitar. And, with the much awaited release of their ‘Drift Away EP’ in India – which made its debut in Los Angeles a year ago – things can only get better for Dream Alive, and they do…
On their debut album, Dream Alive were perhaps still trying to find their signature sound but, on this EP – consisting of four tracks – their maturity appears complete. The title-track flings Dream Alive steadfastly into the now bygone AoR arena with the wide-ranging vocals of Nikhil, who also plays simple and effective keyboards but, it is the grand yet immensely palatable guitar playing of Karan, who provides the true lifeblood for this EP, which has an obviously rock-flavoured theme, with more hooks and a harder cadence compared to their debut album. “Time To Go” spotlights the sweeping fervour of Karan’s guitaring on this uptempo scorcher, who goes completely manic with the instrument just after the song’s only soft spot, where passages of the track recall The Beatles’ “Revolution”. “What We’re Looking For” is comparatively softer but, appropriately, leads to the final track, “War In The Sky” which, for this reviewer, is undeniably the pick of the lot.
The very David Gilmour-esque guitar opening makes for an extremely well-crafted song that appears to be both cerebral and introspective and, if anything, appears to be a perfect ode to the post-Roger Waters Pink Floyd era. Support for the EP arrives from its extremely tight production – courtesy guitarist Karan who triples up as the album’s engineer and mixer too – where not only all the instruments are provided complete clarity, but without compromising on the clear vocals of Nikhil. The ‘Drifting Away EP’ keeps the sounds firmly tied to the early ’80s and to an era that influenced that very decade, resulting in songs that, through the years, should become timeless and, with a common thread in their thankfully very obvious influences, the tracks have a way of rekindling the innocence of youthful romance and the rebelliousness of growing up, built from Dream Alive’s amazing heartfelt songwriting and, of course, their sturdy musicianship. Go for it!

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Sajna – Sraboni Chaudhuri

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While “Sajna” talks about a woman’s yearning for her beloved and an anticipation of being united with her male counterpart, this music video supports the talent of singer Sraboni Chaudhuri whose rendition of the song has been undertaken in a semi-classical  Hindustani style with traditional instruments like the harmonium, tanpura, tabla [by Kishor Pande] and sarangi [by Sandeep Mishra]. The video features Sraboni, of course who, besides singing in a studio, is also shown wearing her make-up, along with the original musicians who perform on the track. This simple, special effects-free video from Rohan D’Souza is precisely the reason what makes it so effective, much like “Sajna”, the song itself, a selection that has its own structure and content which cannot be defined strictly as classical or as folk, but still remains essential hearing for listeners of thumris, thanks to the distinctive vocals from Sraboni Chaudhuri.

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Holi – Ehesaas

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Mumbai-based folk-rock band Ehesaas may be inspired by several of their progenitors, but the quartet – consisting of Amarabha [vocalist, rhythm guitar], Chiranjit [drums], Roy [lead guitar], and Saumit [bass] – still retain a distinct, independent flavour for festivities on “Holi”. Incorporating local elements with modern sounds appear as the musical differentiator for Ehesaas as their acoustic sounds are supported by simple lyrics sung in a very traditional, ethnic manner, but it is the live instrumentation  – especially the bass which lends tremendous support to the rhythm section –  that provide Ehesaas’ music its unique character, which is amply displayed on “Holi”.

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Dhadkan – D-BOY

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While D-Boy has apparently been building the career of various U.K. talents, ranging from D-Sarb [Danny Sarb] to The107 for his record label, Beatcircle, he is now ready to step out on his own and, one way for him doing so, is with the release “Dhadkan”. The lyrics are simple, and the harmonising on this track – defined in his bio as U [for “Urban”] Desi – is irresistible, as this catchy soft, mid-tempo R&B ditty is a potent combination of a fabulous hook and personal charm that makes “Dhadkan” a thoroughly enjoyable affair. This is one D-Company that you can feel musically safe with!

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Dil Ko Har Waqt – Samir & Dipalee

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The singing duo of Samir Date and his partner, Dipalee Somaiya, have built a fan following across genres and across the globe with the diversity of their repertoire that includes both originals and covers. On “Dil Ko Har Waqt”, the singers take the composition of music composer Ravi Date with lyrics by Shaji Hyderabadi, and focus their uncomplicated light weight vocals – supported by Dipalee’s singing high – with a paradoxically strong rhythmic ghazal that provides complete justice to a song that is beautifully written, and marvellously arranged on keyboards with the sounds of guitar playing in the background. Certainly a sincere effort deserving commendation.

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Navkar Mantra – Kavita Seth

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I can certainly relate to the “Navkar Mantra” which, among Jains, is undoubtedly one of its significant mantras, if not the most important one. This is the first prayer recited by the Jains while meditating and, for Bareilly-born Kavita Seth, having completed formal academics in music along with receiving tutelage in Hindustani classical music under the auspices of N.D. Sharma of the Gwalior Gharana, Vinod from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, and from Iqbal Ahmad Khan, Kavita’s music/production consolidates her reputation as one of India’s prime vocalists who cuts across genres. Just in case any validation was required, it arrived her way at the recently held 5th Artist Aloud Music Awards wherein Kavita won an award for ‘Best Genre’. On her rendition of ‘Navkar Mantra’, Kavita is well supported by the brilliant arrangements of Debarpito Saha who utilises subtle percussion and light guitaring on a track that is backed by keyboards. A truly evocative reading of a traditional mantra.

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Ruff n Roar |Live At Scratchers |Mick Clarke

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One musician who faithfully reproduces his brand of blues live too, as I witnessed during his performance at Mumbai’s St. Andrew’s Auditorium on October 25th, 2014, is Mick Clarke; all this, even after churning albums out since the ‘60s, initially as a member of Killing Floor, before going solo. Accompanied by long-time members Chris Sharley on drums and Eddie Masters on bass, the same line-up that toured India, ‘Ruff n Roar’ was recorded live last year at Scratchers – originally known as The Three Lions – a small pub in Surrey, England, and effectively reiterates that Mick likes nothing better than laying out stinging guitar solos over blues, including on standards from Elmore James [“Happy Home”], on which Mick appropriately plays slide, to Willie Dixon’s “You Need Love” – which, for the trivia-minded, served as a blueprint for Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” – as well as Mick’s very own compositions that display his inherent affection for rocking blues. This is an effort from a true musical superman that also has Clarke as part of his name!

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

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.