The Taste of Freedom

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Who can resist perfect strumming? I surrender.

It doesn’t blare; the music doesn’t hurt my ears — even if I’ve turned up the volume to maximum.

What is it about this song? It has no extraordinary opening. Perhaps it’s the crescendo that comes later on— with notes so high and complementing drums.

Or, maybe, it’s the way it changes — no two seconds are same. It rises, and it falls, with unmistakable, yet subtle transitions.

The sound of the music makes me delve within myself, to find that hallow space deep down and do — nothing. It reaches that space just to remind me of its existence.

Every time I replay the song, the tunes scratch the surface of my deepest emotions. It leaves my insides tingling so much that I want to shout, dance, and cry like a maniac — all at the same time. Without looking disturbed myself. Because I don’t feel negative. Just insane peace. Like a slumber in a crisis. Or in the eye of a tornado.

A silence engulfs me just before the ending, and as the final tones die down, the world glares at me again, with its teeth barred.

Same call it escapism. But don’t we all seek art to distract ourselves? To get away from everything — even if only for a while — and enjoy a speck of calm?

I’m most alive when I listen to this song. My mind reels, and even does a tap dance at times. My body lives without my mind’s interference. I feel myself, the real person underneath the messy hair and shabby spectacles.

It’s freedom unlike any other.

Music cuts the leashes that restrain my mind. Once free, I am unaffected even in a throng. I can sit for hours straight caring naught about anything.

I’m above it all. I wonder, I wander.

Experiencing Indo Soul

The previous piece I wrote about Indo music, was about Karthick Iyer’s single. After all the mixed feelings that song had on me, I got hold of the rest of the album. My first impression wasn’t at all that great. Which is a great sign. I’m not easily impressed; it took me over three months to fall in love with my favourite musician’s latest album (now though, I can’t get enough.)

Boundless
Boundless is a boundless musical blend of the miruthangam and some devilish strings. It’s a small song; just two and a half minutes. But throughout, you’ll experience so many emotions go back and forth. I didn’t hate this song, but it didn’t awe me either. In fact, with the strange beginning, I thought my audio was faulty; it didn’t seem appropriate to begin a song with a music that painfully reminds you of this.

TV_noiseAfter the initial shock however, the music gradually pulls you into the song. Not to mention the artsy crescendo. Out of the blue, the miruthangam rises and suddenly from nowhere come the strings to blend in so well that you can actually feel the pull. And the repetitive beat that starts at 1.50, and lasts for a few seconds — wow. I don’t like lengthy musicals — except in extremely rare circumstances. And I’m certain that I wouldn’t have liked this song one bit if it had lasted any longer. This song just proves that you don’t need much time if you know how exactly you want your audience to feel.

Clown Junket
I can’t say it enough, but I am a string lover. The guitar and the violin are one thing, but the bass adds another dimension altogether. Though it’s a part of the violin family, both the cello and the bass are much deeper than the violin and viola. And that’s the magic of this song. It’s a beautiful song, but the first two minutes were too slow. You’re left to wondering what exactly is happening. It might put you off, unless of course, you decide to listen through. Once you wait for the second half, you wouldn’t regret it, I’m sure.

The introducing of the violin into a well set tune was beautiful. The violin just waltzed into the mass that was bass, and fit right in. And the touches of miruthangam here and there – perfect accompaniment to the classical tune. Every time I hear it, it feels a little odd that the violin should blend classical and western, but I’m getting used to the idea — and I’m starting to like it too.

Mid air
No beating around the bush — this song just gets right into business. And I like that. Perhaps to make up for the slow songs in the album — nevertheless, it’s gets off to high start and maintains the energy throughout. Just listening to this song, I can picture it bringing modernity to our traditional society. I love the fact that the bass and the miruthangam get a lot to say along with the violin and guitar. The guitar interlude – brilliantly brings in a little western touch to the classicism.

This is a great song with an amazing blend of both worlds. It’s a bit long though — it would’ve been more powerful had it been a little shorter. This song reminds me of old television advertisements — can’t pinpoint which exactly though. Weirdly though, this song made me nostalgic.

A Saranga Convergence
Love the beginning — great slow start of the violin. The first 30 seconds were awesome, but then he let it slide a bit. He brought it back at 1.40 though – with powerful strings and strong miruthangam. Loved the transition at around 2.40 where the drums take and hand it over to the guitar, and then coming back to the bass. And then the vocal just blooms out of nowhere. It was such an unexpected surprise  — though it lasted a bit longer than I expected. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed the equal distribution of instruments in this song. Maybe because it’s a lengthy piece, but it wasn’t tiring — just a lot of smoothness, one or two glitches here and there, but overall, nice to listen.

Loved the ending as well — smooth. Gave me the mental picture of a cherry sliding off a melting ice-cream cone. 😉

Rejoicing in Raguvamsa
First 50 seconds – pure classical treat, and an incredible transition to the percussion — loved every bit of this song. Beautiful bass solo at 2.40, and nice takeover of the miruthangam assisted by some classy percussion. And yet another beautiful ending. Karthick has found himself a versatile team; three strings, a classic miruthangam and a totally western electric guitar.

Combined, these instruments do such a great job to captivate the listener. And the team’s done it so well. There’s so much room to experiment, to succeed and to make mistakes as well. This is a great album to listen and to keep. It’s not the perfect collection of songs; there are some parts I could live without, and some I couldn’t. Team Karthick Iyer Live knows their audience, and they’re not trying to please everyone. And that’s the way to go.
Oxygen

Discovering Indo Soul

When it’s the strings, I am easily hooked. I am a guitar lover. I can not resist the strumming. And I can’t get enough.

It’s not just the guitar though. I saw David Garret perform the Pirates theme song, and it hooked me. Aside the talent — which is abound — Garret’s stage presence and the way he caressed the violin impressed me.

It was an old video on YouTube, but I felt the passion oozing from him.

Ever since, I kept an open mind. I am all ears for anything strings.

And this song is all about strings. But I still doubted the blending of genres. Why would anyone do that?

I later realized that it could be done, and done right.

When I first heard about Karthick Iyer’s music, I was’t sure. A fusion of Western and Carnatic? Is it worth it?

But I didn’t want to judge too soon — that never works.

I took a deep breath — and listen to the song.

Hmm. Not too great…

And again.

Ok, maybe…

And yet again.

What the — ?

I listened to another song of Karthick’s and I liked that. Now I had to figure: did I like just that song, or Karthick’s style in general?

Loop. Because I had to decode this.

To strip to the details —

The song is a blend of English and Tamil lyrics. When there’s no lyrics, there’s the Carnatic touch. Which not everyone would appreciate. As someone who’s learnt classical singing, I see the beauty of Swaras in a song, but people might consider it noise.

But that’s negligible, for two reasons.

One, Karthick’s voice is so deep and clear when he touches those notes, that it’s so good to hear.

The second, the instruments are awesome.

I raised the volume and closed my eyes, trying to drown the voice and focus on the instruments. The transition from western to classical instruments is so smooth, you can’t help but appreciate it. Particularly shifting from the Mirudangam to the guitars three minutes into the song — artful.

It’s the kind of music you’d expect on a long drive, when all you see in front of you is an endless stretch of highway tar.

Karthick’s voice drips Indianism, and he hasn’t tried to mask it. His vocals are clear and deliberate. His English pronunciation though, is a bit unheard of — perhaps an influence of his visits overseas.

The tune made me wonder. English lyrics in Carnatic tune? Haven’t heard much like it, nonetheless, it’s powerful in certain areas. Definitely serves the purpose.

I slept on it, and a couple of days later, I caught myself unconsciously humming this song.

That’s when I realized: I’ve heard enough to look forward to the rest of the album. I’m curious to see what Karthick’s team is capable of. The album, titled IndoSoul, launches on the 13th of June in Chennai, India.

A Lingering Stress Buster

There are some days, some times, that you just feel like leaning back on your chair, wishing that the song playing inside your head would never end.

Happens.

A lot.

To me.

Music.

music washes away...

It keeps playing, preventing you from doing anything other than listening. The words, the tune, the sound of the strings of the guitar that seems to quietly tease you to sing along. To forget the world, to ignore everybody.

On a dull day, it’s bliss.

On a great day, it’s bliss.

You’re sad, and some good music is all that you might need to heal. It’s what seals the heart that’s torn at the seams.

The notes striding smartly on the staves, pausing at the right time, pausing just long enough, to create an impact that lasts, probably forever.

Simple, but it has such power. I’m happy and it’s the music that shares my joy. I’m sad and it’s the music again that seems to hold my hand, whispering in my ear that everything would be alright. It’s what makes me believe, even if I know it would and could never be alright.

I don’t know if the magical world of Narnia exists, but I do know that there is one magic that makes its existence well known by persistently ringing in my ears.

Music is Might.

Music is Magic.

You probably already guessed it right.

This whole post is just a result of an overdose of subtle music that’s been playing in my ears all day.