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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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Amethystium is the product of Norwegian producer Oystein Ramjford. Its songs have mellow, ambient backtracks that wouldn't sound out of place in an Air album, and vocals that vary from ethereal to gregorian to tribal. Where the band really shines, in my opinion, is in how smoothly all these things are blended in, how natural the progressions of the songs is, the layers and depth in each of the tracks.

These two tracks are from Odonata, their first album.

Starts out on an atmospheric, mysterious note, and gradually other ambient tracks are mixed in, and after that sanskrit chant vocals, producing a fantastic blend.

In my opinion, the title describes this song perfectly. One of the more mellow, trance-groove tracks on the album.

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Conjure One is the brainchild of Rhys Fulber, formerly of Delirium and Frontline Assembly. Their first eponymous album is one of my favorite albums, and they recently released a new album, Extraordinary Ways.

I didn't like Extraordinary Ways as much as their first album, but I still can't say that I was disappointed. Conjure One has a distinctive sound that I've grown addicted to, trip-hop and synth-pop samplings with a lush, exotic ambiance and vocals that range from ethereal to operatic, and while the overall quality of this album is more uneven than the first, on that score it delivers.

These are the first and last tracks.

Endless Dream
A collaboration with Poe, one of the more synth-popish songs on the cd, reminiscent of Make A Wish.

Into The Escape
This song has a more exotic flavor, and the arrangement is weirdly beautiful.



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June 2013

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