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AR Rahman move over. I think I've found someone new to put on my pedestal.

Sanjay Gupta is a strange, somewhat delusional character. He claims his movies are highly original, calls them works of art that push the envelope when in fact they're nothing more than pale knock-offs of western movies. Maybe this was why it took me so long to listen to his songs - I figured his music would be just as derivative. But, ohman. Gave the soundtrack to Zinda a listen yesterday, then Musafir, and. His stuff completely blows my mind.

There're two versions of each CD - the lounge version and the club version, and usually designations like this put me on guard, because most Indian club songs and remixes I've heard aren't very good. Indian music producers have this tendency to throw random western elements in their songs to try and make them seem hipper and cooler (MORE WID IT KAY), with the result that the whole thing sounds tacked on and stupid. But whatever the producers here are doing, more often than not it works, in such a way that it seems, at the same time, both completely natural and revolutionary, and then they do it again in the next song, and then again in the next. It's amazing.

These two songs are from the soundtrack of the movie Musafir.

Saki (Psychedelic Insomnia Mix)

Lyrics by Dev Kohli, produced by Vishal-Shekhar, sung by Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan. A mix of traditional and techno and rock IN A WAY THAT WORKS. *still kind of blown by that* sakis were what they called women that served drinks in wine houses. This song has lyrics that I adore (in no small part because I'm a huge proponent of the "to love is to be at war" school of thought). This is no sappy love duet - both the man and the woman can be hard and cutting, and the atmosphere of the song reflects that.

lyrics )

I love the beat, the guitar riffs around two and a half minutes into the song, the back and forth that immediately follows between the woman and man (ishq ke galiyon main na jana... ishq to mera khuda hai aashiq mera naam hai), especially the way the guy draws out the last syllable, his voice spiralling up. It works so well, and the only place aside from hindi songs that I've heard that done is in operas.

Rabba (Lounge Version)

Produced by Anand Raj Anand, lyrics by Dev Kohli, sung by Richa Sharma. There are traditional vocals, a steady techno beat and ambient backtrack. Rabba means god, and the girl is saying, in the first verse:

let no one come into my life
if someone comes don't let them leave
if they're going to give me tears
then don't let them make me laugh before

Will do his album Zinda next.

*ishq: passionate love
**aashiq: passionate lover

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A couple of indian remixes.

Britney Spears - Me Against The Music (Rishi Rich's Desi Kulcha Remix)
The original song is nothing to write home about, with repetitive produced beats and lyrics that stand out more for their awkwardness than their poetry. But then UK Bhangra producer Rishi Rich got his hands on it, turning it inside out by eliminating the melody, creating a killer backbeat, and adding bhangra elements, all of which combine to make this one of the catchiest dance tracks ever.

Rock U vs Mundian
A mash-up of Five's We Will Rock You and Punjabi MC's Mundian to Bach Ke (Beware Of The Boys). It's rather hilarious how well this works.

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A.R. Rahman is the best known Indian film music producer at this time, and, if articles like this time magazine one are anything to go by, is well on his way to international renown. He's produced soundtracks for dozens of films, starting with the 1992 film Roja, compositions that are a unique mix of modern and classical music traditions.

The following two songs are from the movie The Rising, his latest work.

Al Maddath Maula
A Qawwali-style devotional song where, to be fair, Rahman doesn't vary much from the usual modus operandi - repeating phrases and tabla based rather boring rhythm - but which I still adore without reason, and I finally figured out why. It's because I love dichotomies, and while being a devotional hymn, the song still manages to sound sinister and tragic, as if it could also fit perfectly in a descent to madness soundtrack. Al Maddath Maula means help me god, and it has phrases like - god, is there going to be an even deeper darkness/ god, is there every going to be an end to this night - and there's this feeling that the answer is no, there isn't, the world isn't going to change, it's the person who's going to have to change, and the person knows it, that what they're praying for, really, is the strength to become something terrible so that they can stand up to it.

One of the sexiest songs I've heard in some time. I like how sinuous the whole thing is, how various melodies are twisted together, and I love the really low husky singer's voice (that's there for all of two lines *coughs*). The video for this was amazing.



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June 2013

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