Friday, October 14, 2005

Random Music Musings - Part Deux

Disappointed, I am. Indian Ocean, one of India's finest prog-rock-folk-fusion (for lack of a better word) genre-defying group is playing a set of select gigs in the US. Unfortunately, Seattle isn't part of the set, though LA, the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City are.

If you haven't heard them yet, I recommend them highly. I've heard two albums now - Kandisa and Black Friday. They've impressed me highly with their virtuosity and skill at combining the flavor of Indian folk with the jam band sensibility of a Dave Mathews Band (or is it the Grateful Dead?) to create a collage of sound that is soothing, invigorating and mind-bending, often all of it simultaneously.

More details here. Check out their official website - a fairly creative site, even without the use of annoying flash animation.

If you're in the area, definitely check out their shows.

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What is it with young rock stars and dying early? Of course, some of the great who died early including Jim Morrison (drug overdose), and Kurt Cobain (suicide) took their own lives figuratively and literally. But then there's John Lennon (assassinated) and of course, the subject of this ranting, Jeff Buckley.

Jeff Buckley is an alt-rock icon. The problem is, he is alt(ernative) enough that in spite of being really interested in rock/alternative music, I hadn't heard of him till some time last year. He is apparently an extremely influential artist, influencing the style of, among others, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Thom Yorke of Radiohead.

His debut CD Grace, (it turned out to be his only full CD released when he was alive) sizzles and crackles with enough verve to hit the spot immediately. I bought it a month back on a pure whim. On first listening, I realized that it was one of those CDs that I would grow to love. His voice has impressive range, and he is impossibly ambitious in the CD, with Zeppelin-esque guitar flourishes meeting his wailing voice to create absolute mayhem (and beauty). There's a certain melancholy that resonates through most of his work. As a review I saw states, it's almost as if he had an inkling of his early death. It's not without a sense of foreboding that I hear him sing "Eternal Life is now on my trail". It's tragic to die early, but for someone like him to, that too in such freak circumstances is heartbreaking.

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I found this completely awesome resource online. (Via Indian Writing). Jaideep Verma or Jebbit,has archived some music columns from his previous writings for Tehelka and Gentleman magazine. Impressively knowledgeable about music, he's put together some great lists of artists and critiqued what in Indi-pop is worth listening to (hint: not much.)

The most interesting point he makes is the lack of iconic singer-songwriters in the Indian music culture. The all-pervasive influence of Bollywood has left the non-film world in a rut and except for a notable artist or two, there isn't much to crow about. He plays up Indian Ocean (rightly), plays down Euphoria (wrongly, IMO) and plays up Strings' Duur and Silk Route's Boondein, among other albums.

I hope Jebbit continues to post newer articles. Till he does, there's enough material and album names in there to keep me going for a long time.


Previous music musings.

1 comment:

jaideep varma said...

Thanks Ajay. Pleasure that people like you find my stuff useful.

rgds
Jaideep