Monday, 20 May 2013

Tigerstyle - Digi-Bhang Review

When Tigerstyle announced the release of their new album five years after Mystics, Martyrs and Maharajahs, no one knew quite what to expect. The singles they released sounded different to the tracks other producers were making. Sari-Clad Speakers was lucky enough to get a copy of this long awaited album and here is a world exclusive pre-release review of Digi-Bhang.

Tigerstyle have a way with bass lines like no other producers. The amount of styles, instruments and beats they pack into their songs is amazing. The production is so intricate that even after several plays of the album I am still picking up new things.

Digi-Bhang is a collection of 11 songs that work independently and are suited to the shuffle function on an MP3 player. If you listen to albums the old fashioned way (one song after the other in the order of the track listing), you may find it too intense as there are no slow songs to provide variation. Tigerstyle make great slow songs and I missed them on this album.

The lyrics on most of the tracks are all sung traditionally in Punjabi, so whatever Tigerstyle do with the accompaniment the song still has a desi feel. However, the bass line and accompaniment to the vocals is where Tigerstyle play around. mix things up and fuse sounds together. It makes it hard to classify the style of each song, especially when it changes halfway through. This is bhangra, but not as you know it.

   Tigerstyle Talk About Digi-Bhang by Sari-Clad Speakers

Digi-Bhang kicks off with three of the singles: Ay-Ha!, Boss and Kudi. With their solid bass lines and strong vocals Ay-Ha! and Kudi gave a tantalising glimpse of what to expect. Boss is the new single which is packed with drama and gun shots similar to those in Taakre.

Bhangra purists who have missed Tigerstyle’s desi tracks will love Peli Peshi and Tera Hasna. These dholcentric tracks prove the duo can still make a great traditional bhangra track if they want to. Tanveer Gogi provides some incredibly powerful vocals on Tera Hasna. The track has a timeless classic feel that would work both in a Punjabi village and in a club.

Not many producers play their own instruments but Pops played the dhol for Pehli Peshi. It’s a hard hitting bhangra track with a modern edge. RK Mendhi provides the vocals and Ranbir Jagatpuri wrote the lyrics. These two also feature on Boss. Ki Faida is a track with moombahton flavours and one of the heaviest bass lines ever.

There is an equal number of male and female vocalists on Digi-Bhang and it’s great to hear women with brilliant voices taking the lead on half the album. There is a lovely soft opening to Dhi Punjab Di showcasing Jaspinder Narula’s vocals. There is lots of bass, but the rest of the accompaniment is traditional and the song would work at a sangeet. It’s the longest track on the album and it could have done with a break, perhaps mirroring the opening, to stop it getting too intense.

Zulfaan De Naag is girly but powerful. The vocals, bass and beat blend seamlessly together to create a catchy tune. It’s one of the best tracks on Digi-Bhang and I can’t wait to try it out on a dance floor. Party is another commercial song that is more Digi-Bollywood than Digi-Bhangra. It is the guilty pleasure track of the album.

Hatt Piche
is a modern take on the sampling of the naughties. There’s a vocal from Labh Janjua, rap from Kanwar and an instrumental similar to Terror Squad’s Lean Back, which Tigerstyle used on Bhang Goes tha Riddim. As the only song with a rap/hip hop theme it stands out. Kanwar has some great lines including “you’re like the sabji without the tarka”.

Digi-Bhang ends with Ik Banere. The uniqueness of the song contrasts with the other tracks on the album. The combination of harp, bass and sweet vocals result in a very special song. I was impressed with the single and video and it’s probably the best track Tigerstyle have ever made.

Verdict: Strong vocals, intricate production and fresh bass lines make Digi-Bhang a stunning album. There is not one weak track that lets it down and Digi-Bhang exceeded my expectations. It is innovative, original and creative. This isn’t just bhangra, this is Digi-Bhang.

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