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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sashi's theme - Amit Trivedi

Amit Trivedi is the one of the very few Hindi film composers who has consistently been good in composing background score in Hindi films. He almost always gives me a theme or two to hum home with when the movie ends. Amit Trivedi’s background score in English Vinglish is quite special, with a well defined theme for Sashi and its delicious variations playing for all varied emotions of Sashi throughout the film. Sashi’s theme got stuck in my mind since the very first time I watched the film. I loved Amit Trivedi’s score in Luv Shuv They Chicken Khurana as well. Very rarely mainstream movie critics mention about film’s background score in their reviews, and almost every reviewer mentioned about Amit Trivedi’s score for one of the scenes in Aiyya, which I am yet to watch.

This is Sashi’s Theme and its Variations – a Recent addition to my Stress buster playlist.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tribute to 80's Ilaiyaraaja

Heard the song from Rendavadhu Padam that is publicized as a tribute to 80's Ilaiyaraaja music. Maybe, it is. That audacious anything goes approach in the orchestration, with a wide array of instruments parading one after the other playing phrases sweet on its own and also fitting nicely in all different things happen before and after; That switching styles of music all in one interlude; That rushing string section; That quintessential triple Congos with deep drums; That omnipresent chorus; That adjoining Veenai as sweet fillers between lines; That swift to classical backing in the the second charanam; That tightness with so many musical stuff happening all the time; That one Tabla stroke midst all western percussion layers; And Of course, SPB and Chitra; and much more - Thanks a ton to Kannan and Amudhan for showing that that sound is still possible. But.


Somehow, I feel Imman's Ayyayyo Aanandhamae is a much better tribute to 80's Ilaiyaraaja. That imploding energy in the most haunting of melodies, that is my key takeaway from 80's Ilaiyaraaja, which is in Ayyayo Anandhamae. It is a song, if were available at the time I wrote "Ilaiyaraaja and the Synth Myth", I wouldn't have had to think and write that piece to form and understand my stance.

Now, I want to hear Ilaiyaraaja of now paying tribute to 80's Ilaiyaraaja, at least once, just for heck of it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Vathikuchi - M.Ghibran

Vathikuchi is a completely different soundtrack from M.Ghibran’s widely successful debut - Vaagai Sooda Vaa, and yet M.Ghibran packs same punch in this album too. There are love songs in this album as well, but there are no what I call sweetener instruments like flute, Veena, acoustic Guitars or Saxophones in here. Heavy bass, strings are always bowed or plucked in their lower registers, Trumpets, trombones and bass heavy instruments are used mostly. The idea of having a central musical idea - of having a certain raw and rough sound even in romantic songs consistently maintained throughout the soundtrack - is extremely rare to find in Tamil film soundtracks these days.

While every other composer abuses Auto tune or whatever is that technology that makes a human voice sound lifeless and robotic, Ghibran uses it in here for a purpose. When the girl ends the line singing “venaandi shape maaridum”, the last note of the phrase is stretched and its shape is deformed digitally to go in sync with the lyrics. He did this tweaking the melody to make it gel with the literal meaning of the lyrics in Vaagai Sooda Vaa as well in one of the line in Poraanae song.

The clarity in the orchestration of the songs, not very complex but totally uncluttered and none of the layer sounds like carelessly thrown in into the song. The multi layered Vocals in almost an acapella “Shopping” song is sheer brilliance. So much effort has gone into making a simple fun song.

Ghibran gets a symphony orchestra again, this time it is Macedonian symphony orchestra. Theme music pieces nowadays have become uninteresting repetitions of a tune on different instruments, it has to be done in a way Ghibran does here. There is always something that keeps changing in the main theme, the pace, instruments playing the theme, the backing, adding additional in-between notes in the main theme and such tricks and techniques to keep it alive throughout. Ghibran pays equal attention to that which happens in between the various variations of the theme, how it arrives to and how it departs from the main theme and keeps the piece extremely tight. The rock layers make it sound like a conventional Hollywood action score though. And Ah! When you hear that pizzicato version of the theme and the way it enters the piece simmering its way as a lead to the big soaring reprise of the main theme, you know that this composer knows what he is doing.

Above all, the Melodies - simple, instantly accessible, bang on the emotion they intends to invoke.

I equally enjoyed the Karaoke versions of the songs. They are not to be skipped. It helps to savor all that happens underneath the main melody, and a lot happens in the songs of this soundtrack.

Originality, clarity, brevity, accessibility – I hope what follows is popularity. And what are our film makers waiting for? Here is man, run and knock his studio doors now.