Tuesday, 28 February 2012

S-Endz - Do U Wanna Come?

S-Endz, vegan member of the band Swami, has released the second single from his EP Chapter 0 : REINKARNAL. Do U Wanna Come? is described by S-Endz as "an uptempo neofunk dancefloor jam, ... a homage to classic 70's funk likes james brown and the ohio players, but with a contemporary twist."

There are similarities to his last track Alone from the same EP. It was originally written in May 2008, Simon "Subs" Duggal had a hand in recording and producing it and the track received a make over before being released. Like Alone it is also available for free download but S-Endz says if you can afford to pay something for it, please do - you can pay however much or little you want.

The story of how Do U Wanna Come? came to life may be similar to Alone, but that is where the similarity ends. Do U Wanna Come?  is a full on and frantic compared to Alone's summery mellow feel. This is a track made for the dance floor and is much faster than Alone. It's nice to hear S-Endz sing solo and the production is crisp.

The next track from Chapter 0 : REINKARNAL will be released in a fortnight's time. Check back here for the Sari-Clad Speakers review.   

You can download S-Endz's new track here

Monday, 27 February 2012

Sharaab - Asura

In today’s world full of recession and financial crisis, few are able to make their passion a full time job. However, Atlanta based Sharaab is lucky enough to work with music in his day job as a recording and mix engineer. He works with the likes of Karsh Kale and the Midival Punditz on their music before clocking off to work on his own.

Asura is Sharaab’s latest release. It is a credit to Sharaab that his music appears very simple and almost minimalist on the first listen. However as I listened to the tracks more and more I appreciated just how complicated each track is. This is partly thanks to excellent production, which Sharaab is proficient in due to his day job. Sharaab cites the Asian Underground movement as a major influence on his work, and this comes through in Asura.

This album is as much about the musicality as the production. Sharaab knows exactly when to add a beat, what vocal will work where and when to use Indian instruments. Sharaab was influenced by his mother, who was trained in Indian vocals and sitar and as a boy he played many different instruments himself. He was particularly drawn to percussion and studied tabla when he went on trips to India. This extensive knowledge of music gives Asura a rich diverse sound which is unique.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Bikram Singh - Kinna Sohna Munda Sunil Sehgal Remix

Fans of Bikram Singh should have noticed the video for Nachegi by now. Taken from his album Bik.I.Am, the song was released as a single last week. What fans may not have noticed are the remixes of Beyonce and Kinna Sohna Munda that were on the Nachegi single release.

As I wrote in my album review, Nachegi is a solid bhangra track and the video has been well received. But it is the Sunil Sehgal remix of Kinna Sohna Munda that is worth legally downloading. As soon as I heard the preview on itunes I liked this remix and could barely wait until I got the green light to blog about it. The original version of KSM is a brilliant tune and I actually prefer it to Nachegi as I think it has more attack. The Sunil Sehgal remix of KSM builds on this attack and transforms it into a club ready dance track. The bass is increased and there are a few well timed sound effects to listen out for.

There is also the One Stop remix of Beyonce on the Nachegi single. I did not like this as much as the original Beyonce, as I thought it completely sidelined Bikram's vocals. However if you like remixes there are two excellent versions of Electro Love Boliyan that are worth listening to.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the Streets of Calcutta

Adverts for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are showing on British television. Famous names including Judi Dench, Dev Patel and Maggie Smith star in the film, which is directed by Oscar-winning John Madden. That funky sitar track playing in the trailer is called Streets of Calcutta. It is by Ananda Shankar, who is the newphew of Ravi Shankar and worked with Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s. 

Thomas Newman has composed the soundtrack for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. He has made many iconic soundtracks including American Beauty, Shawshank Redemption and Finding Nemo. So I'm surprised Ananda Shankar's track has been used to promote the film. Why the promoters needed to use such an iconic track when the film's own soundtrack has been composed by Thomas Newman is beyond me. Perhaps his score did not sound Indian enough or exotic enough to use?

The film soundtrack releases on the 27th of February and there are no preview clips online to listen to. Streets of Calcutta is not included in the tracklisting and it's sad that Ananda Shankar is not credited. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel releases on the 24th of February, so we have to wait and see if Streets of Calcutta is used in the film.

When Bollywood borrows tracks from the western world, a huge fuss is usually made and people complain that the Indian film industry lacks originality. I don't think we should make a huge fuss when western film makers borrow from India, but they should at least be given due credit for their work. Especially in this case, where a song is being used to sell a film.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Take Five: Westerners in Bollywood

The film Ekk Deewana Tha released last weekend. It stars Prateik Babbar, who was also in Dhobi Ghat, and Amy Jackson, a British beauty contest winner who is now the face of Armani India. She is not the first westerner to star in a Bollywood flick. Today's Take Five is all about westerners who have spent some time in Mumbai.

 Emma Bunton

Emma Bunton, also known as Baby Spice, makes a cameo appearance in a song from Pyaar Mein Twist. Around the time of filming there was a documentary showing how she got on in Bollywood. I watched the documentary and all I can remember is how she wiped off half the make up before shooting started and complained about the lack of schedual. I don't think she has been back to bollywood since.

Monday, 20 February 2012

O Meri Chandni - Chaar Din Ki Chandni

RDB, the brothers who were dubbed "the Asian So Solid Crew" by The Face magazine, have once again made music for Bollywood. O Meri Chandni is a song from the upcomming movie Chaar Din Ki Chandni which is directed by Samir Karnik. He directed the film Yamla, Pagla Deewana, which also featured music produced by RDB. 

The track shows off the vocal talents of Sunidhi Chauhan and Three Record's very own Parichay. The result is an energetic Bollywood song with a bit of an electro edge that sounds fresh compared to the usual offerings from the Indian film industry. Parichay's vocals are excellent, just as they were on his recent album, and prove he can sing well in different styles.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

S-Endz - Alone

S-Endz, the Swami band member who also goes by the name Casey Rain, has released Alone from his EP Chapter 0 : REINKARNAL. The EP is being released one track at a time and Alone is the first song. The next song from the EP will be released in two week's time.  

Simon "Subs" Duggal, who is S-Endz's cousin and has worked with Shania Twain, helped to produce Alone. S-Endz talked about how Alone was brought to life on his website:

Alone was written and conceived in May 2008 at my home studio. Lyrically, it’s the story of a troubled relationship. It started with a guitar sample from a pop song, ran through a filter and then I started laying down drums on it. The first version was very basic – just the drums and the sample. I wrote and recorded all three verses and the chorus, and then a few months later, took the multitracks over to Simon’s studio. There, we redid the drums from scratch, added piano and guitar parts, and had a girl named Sarah, who Simon was working with at the time, record the chorus vocal. I then redid my own rap vocals. Over the next 3 years, we worked on-and-off on the song, but it always felt incomplete. Finally, in mid 2011, we changed the bassline, added new synth parts and everything fell into place.
Alone is a great track and I can't wait for the next one from the EP. The vocal dialogue between Sarah Riley and S-Endz is lovely and the track is well produced. There is a summery feel to this track and even though the lyrics discuess a sad subject there is something about this tune that is incredibly upbeat.

You can download Alone here for free, but S-Endz says on his website if can afford to pay for it, please do - you can pay however much or little you want.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

London Paris New York Soundtrack Review

In Bollywood, actors have often contributed their vocals to a song. But it is rare for a singer and composer to act in a film. However, this is what Ali Zafar has done in London Paris New York. Not only does he play the lead role, but he has composed the soundtrack and sung in it as well.

As the title suggests London Paris New York is set in three cities. The songs are supposed to reflect each of the three cities, but it is not always clear which song reflects which city. In all the songs there is a distinct lack of lyrics. There are a lot of “do dos” , “na nas”, “ooh oohs” and “pa pas” throughout the album which makes the songs catchy and easy to sing along to. It also means that the tunes have international appeal as “do do do” is the same in most languages.

The title track is a pop song. A mix of Hindi and English lyrics with a few “do dos” thrown in, this song is catchy enough to get into your head but not good enough to stay in for long. There is a sunny feel to the song. Sunidhi Chauhan’s vocals go well with Ail Zafar's. This song feels short, but any longer and I think it would start to get annoying.

The Paris track is defiantly Ooo Lala. The track opens with some French lyrics which are hard to hear against the techno. They end with “Tu me manques” (You miss me) and Hadiqa Kiyan’s brilliant vocals kick in. This is an edgy electronic track and will probably sound better when pictured on someone.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Manni Sandhu - Sona

Manni Sandhu, the young producer who made the hit Door Ni Kulney, has bought out a video to accompany his single Sona.

The video opens with a girl showing off her outfit via facetime to Manni who is waiting for her in his car. Manni doesn’t like the amount of jewellery she is wearing and drives off to sulk in ruined building and play his vaja. The girl runs after him and takes off her jewellery in an attempt to please him. When she finally meets him, Manni stares at her neckline to make sure she has got rid of the bling before leading her off into the night.

The price of gold is at an all time high and it is snatched from women’s necks, so this song is timely. If he is concerned about her jewellery being snatched off her and he didn’t feel confident enough to protect her, he could have asked her nicely to remove it. But I don’t get why he is so upset at the girl for wearing jewellery. He acts as if she has told him she is seeing someone else. It’s hypocritical of him to say that she doesn’t need the gold when he is wearing a gold watch from D&G, driving a flash car and has big diamond earrings. Reading various comments on youtube and bhangra websites it seems I am not alone in thinking this video is hypocritical.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Take Five: Snow

Europe is cold and covered in snow. The news blames it for travel chaos, but in Bollywood it signifies romance and fun even if some of the actors are chronically underdressed for the cold conditions. Today's Take Five looks at songs in the snow.

Khabi Khabi - Tere Chehre Se

Khabi Khabi was famous for it's title song but the rest of the soundtrack was also brilliant. In Tere Chehre Se Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh roll around in some snow with a brief break in the sunshine before returning to the white stuff

Friday, 3 February 2012

M.I.A. - Bad Girls

M.I.A., who will sing alongside Madonna and Nicky Minaj at the Super Bowl on Sunday, has released a video for Bad Girls. It is directed by Romain Gavras, who also directed the controversial video for Born Free. 

Bad Girls has none of the violence that got Born Free banned from youtube, even though it shows a few guns. The video is set somewhere in a Middle Eastern desert at a race meeting. There are plenty of nail biting car stunts and M.I.A. sings one verse atop a tilting car without showing any fear at all. There are also arty shots of a man on horseback and M.I.A. singing with back up dancers dressed in bling and animal print head scarves. There is a party atmosphere and everyone is having a good time. Watch out for the red-haired boy towards the end of the video - a cheeky reference to the Born Free video perhaps?

I love M.I.A.’s videos. They are kitschy and colourful or controversial but always different. When the song was released on Monday, there was little to suggest that the video for it would be as good as it is. It would have been easy to drive a car along a road with a few belly dancers in the back, but instead there is a video full of tricks set in a region of the world which is currently associated with revolution rather that partying.

The song is good even without the video. Produced by Danja, who has also worked with Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, Bad Girls is slick and atmospheric. The lyrics are repetitive and do not make much sense, but far from being annoying they become a hypnotic mantra. The short sentences are easy to quote. Expect your twitter feed to fill up with gems like “if I go to bed baby can I take you?” and “pull me closer if you think I can hang”.

There is a lot going on under the lyrics - a sultry Arabic style sample, syncopated percussion and just the right amount of bass. I can see the instrumental version of this track being used in lots of other songs. Bad Girls gets into you head and that is the point because once it’s in there it feels like M.I.A. has never been away.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Parichay - All New Everything Review

One of the things I hate about the music industry are release dates that get missed or are pushed back for reasons too complicated for music lovers to understand. All New Everything by Parichay was an album that was delayed. As it was released as a free download, I think his fans have now forgiven him. Despite being called All New Everything there are a quite a few songs that have been released as singles or teasers due to the delay. However, for the purposes of this review, I am ignoring the teasers and looking at tracks individually in the context of the album.

The songs on this album vary in style. There are simple bollywood style ballads, full on electronic dance anthems and gritty urban tracks. There is a nice mix of songs on which Parichay sings solo and others which feature guest artists. This ensures that no two songs sound alike and prevents the album from getting monotonous.