Another longish break and yet another return. I was having too much fun with getting ready for the launch of our new venture (there was also a bit of sweat and stress involved, but mostly it was fun) to add anything to this or to my BanteringRam blog in the last few weeks. And in our usual fashion, we’ve set the online store opening for All Fools Day. I’m not sure if the post-launch situation will allow me to be less erratic with my writing but I’ll cross that bridge when it come to me, heh.
I had been meaning to write for a while about our obsession with boxing everything in neat little categories and the lamentable limiting effect of that in our reception of a wider range of music. I will save that piece for another day. What I do have here (to bridge the gap, in more ways than one) is a song that has relevance to that in its breaking of such cages. There are a lot of interesting things happening in Indian film music. Well, actually in the music scene in India in general, but it seems more evident in the film industry simply because of its wide audience and its long-held hard-to-break formulaic approach. These days, however, it’s quite common for you to hear elements of different forms of music merging with ‘stock’ Indian film-style, new and different voices breaking away from the stereotype of the past and composers who’re not afraid to experiment. And to top that, there’s an audience that’s lapping it all up. One example of this is “Jiya Lage Na” composed by Ram Sampath from the film “Talaash” with vocals by Sona Mohapatra and Ravindra Upadhyay that are rooted in Indian semi-classical structures layered over electronica and a repetitive, insistent, near hypnotic percussive beat. Is it perfect? No, I don’t think so. I would’ve preferred a fuller sound to the flatness of the rhythm (even allowing for the compressed version of the song that I have). Perhaps a proper drum ’n bass treatment. But good? That I’ve played it tens of times over days says it all.
On a different note, but still with the Indian link, is this video for “Wor” by Brit indie band Django Django from their debut album released last year. I’ve seen a “Maut Ka Kuan” (Well Of Death) performance when I was quite young. Till I saw this video featuring the Well of Death riders from Allahabad doing the rounds recently I thought it had errmm…died out, quite like the circus (perhaps I’m wrong about that too). The most telling statement (at about 3 minutes into the video) to my mind is made by a rider when he says in the vo “I don’t think I’m a hero. It’s only the audience that thinks I’m a hero”. I suppose you need to be shorn of all notions of heroism when you’re dealing with death. It’s a gripping video, very well done, but I’m caught between being saddened at what some people need to do for a living and being fatalistic like the rider at the beginning who has accepted death, whether he meets it in that well or at home.