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Sunday, February 25, 2018

You in Me - Ghibran

Ghibran is undoubtedly a beacon of hope in Tamil film music. Immensely original. A fresh voice. Muted and Modest. Not an Anirudh or even a Santosh Narayanan in popularity, but was the composer for three consecutive Kamal Hasan films. Ghibran has been quietly marching ahead with tenacity and focusing on composing well-rounded songs; give him any mood or ask for any genre, he cooks a song with a clean and crisp melody, rich and dense arrangements, and moreover, always, a dash of sparkling newness. Nayyaandi Songs are a towering testament to his wicked mastery.

Ghibran is probably the first Tamil film composer, who had access to a full-length symphony orchestra to record his debut film soundtrack (Vaagai Sooda Va). He studied film music in Singapore, and was aspiring to work in Hans Zimmer’s team, but fortunately for us, he didn’t. With his melodies soaked in Hindustani classical and his orchestration in western classical, he doesn’t condescend on electronica. He always managed to strike a fine balance between symphonic and synthesized music in his arrangements (he call it Hybrid Orchestral). The heft of his melodies that lends it longevity is cleverly camouflaged under the easy niceties to deliver instant pleasure.

Ghibran has recently released a single, an instrumental track, called You in me, that corroborates my assertions on his music, his influences, and his methods.

Amidst the singles that are not much different from your typical Tamil film song, which shows no promise of breaking the shackles of the barriers imposed by the music made for the medium of Tamil cinema, an instrumental piece, even if it sticks entirely to the idioms of a Tamil film score, is a welcome initiative. This proves that the creator, though aware of the unpopularity of instrumental music, is willing to create, for he loves to create, and genuinely hopes it will eventually find its audience.

In You in Me, the motif is short, quiet and melodic; ethereal and dreamy when it sparkles out of an acoustic piano; sounds like a quintessential love theme in a Tamil film, especially when recapitulated on an angelic female voice. Upon multiple recurrences in the span of the piece, the melody does seem capable of evincing a neutral universality. The song soon enters a meandering zone in the middle, where a distant woodwind plays a muted yearning melody, against the occasionally rising brass tones and celestial atmospherics. And piano quietly runs underneath in allegretto through the hazy jungle of sounds. The theme is reprised electronically against techno beats, with multiple layers of instruments fluttering away as accompaniments (a palette Ghibran wonderfully put to use in Enthaara song). I do enjoy moody, languorous soundscape pieces, however, with a melody as malleable and potent as in this piece, I would have liked a few more variegated orchestral versions of it neatly strung together within the piece.

Go forth and conquer Ghibran! Looking forward to more in the Ghibran’s Orchestra Series.

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