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Thursday, May 24, 2018

On Bob Dylan's 77th Birthday, On My 7th Year of Love-Making

When Bob finally won the Nobel Prize last year, I was intensely sad, sickeningly sad - almost frowning at myself in the mirror in disgust. "Hey Bob, that sick ball of shiny metal's not for you, Sartre compared that bag of shit to a sack of potatoes, and Barrack Obhamma won it for no reason in 2009...Bob,don'" I earned a chance to interview an Irish musician who was contextually actually very impressed by that Gothic, almost spiritually ambivalent article o' mine. Now, let me tell you the truth about that article. That was a formal piece of my eloquent arrogance I just couldn't pen down in frustration back then. Now I know, now that I have the patience and the containment, now I'd want to. 

So, I used to walk around this mighty yet petite, dying river of ours and I would imagine how the moon could melt down into its bosom straight from the core of the sky, leaving a vacuum - an unfathomable, spirited, reverberating sense of vacuum. That was when I was just climbing the ladder of his music, I was listening to 'Dark Eyes' very often, coupled with 'Like A Rolling Stone' and other tracks. At this point of time, I was also developing into a woman, I could see the bodily changes, and even though I was confused whether or not to be too fond of whatever was happening (cause I didn't understand what, at the first place was happening), I chose to grasp the music instead, the elan vital, the progression, the hunger for passion. 
Often at night, I would feel like unlocking the walls and heading straight to the river, and closer, closer to the water still. 

As I grew up into a more mechanical, apparently tidier, posh being, the instincts clung to music, arts and especially of the revolutionary kind. Dylan was a magician to me, a man with a spine, as straight as the rectilinear motion of light - a messiah, a saviour, a different creature in the times of nothing altogether. This was when I was 14 and by the time I was 15, I was in love for the first time, possibly. And succeeding heartbreak like an expelled citizen, I dwelled inside his songs. 'Daddy You Been on My Mind', 'It Ain't Me Babe' in Joan Baez's voice, 'Don't Think Twice It's Alright' among others. 

It took me time to age this much, that now his revolution turns into love every time I listen to these songs on loop, every time the eerily long lines around the stores on his birthdays over the past 50 years, maybe. Idols are as fragile as remnants of a decapitated civilization, waiting for the worms. It reminds you of visions from Dali's 'Destino', the lucid eloquence of time, of gravity, of portrayal, of truth and of the portrayal of the several kinds of truth that persist like an eternal air of vicinity around your naked palm. Dylan now would also mean a reminisce of what ceased to be from times before I was born, but have subsequently developed ideals about (which, contextually are not as fragile as idols). That hurts, deep down in the core - that stings the heart and the soul and the mind. It makes me want to find refuge in Joan Baez's life, only to find her accept lesser sins than Dylan himself. It is sad that now she too, would choose to walk the stage with someone as much of a nothing as Taylor Swift whereas Sinead O'Connor would anyday refuse to and instead shave her head and sing 'Oró sé do bheatha 'bhaile' with as much arrogance as burning pain, rage, spirit, and love. 

The last nail on the coffin was his acceptance of the Nobel Prize in 2016. It tore me apart, honestly. It reminded me of the Vietnam war, it reminded me of Joan's broken heart, it reminded me of Barrack Obhammaa receiving it in the name of peace in 2009, it reminded me of unfed children in Afghanistan and how "the saviours of the world" sit in the Pentagon and operate joysticks to terminate millions of lives - human as well as the several diverse species that constitute the flora and fauna, in a word - life on this planet. It reminded me of Guantanamo Bay and it reminded me of Kashmir. It reminded me of Syria,Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Gaza strip and Nigeria. It reminded me of Ghana and it reminded me of Kenya. It doomed me, it took away most of the love I had so securely stored in my heart for the poet whose poetry now belongs to millions of people. It reminded me of the time I'd spent in the north-eastern part of this country, it reminded me how pop-culture can be sculpted in the favourable sense, coupled with the dynamism and beauty of the eloquence of original, spirited poetry. It reminded me how, this generation never is or would be able to find out a path, an illuminance that sparked between words, in intellect, in understanding, in compassion and empathy
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Letters to Vincent : Volume 2

April rain is the saddest of times at the heart of this old, empty planet. Emptied, it seems to grow older in its current enthrallment, flashing back in the winter months in caskets and shrivels in the skin. The folds at the core of an ageing tree, the melanchloia that clings to the tattered ends of a dragonfly's wings, the drizzled streets, the empty chairs in the amphitheatre sets sail in the robust times of gunshots and vengeance. How old are we, eh - with all our brown suits and ash hair, livid at the spectators for the burden of performance that sets us soaringly caged, day after day?

Vincent, how long did they torment you? How far did they tear down your idea of time, procurement, vicinity, error and elongation? Vincent, what is love - what did you cling to, in that dirty old overcoat of yours, your unbathed body, the essence of ashes and galaxies far away, the enchanting tale of centuries and millennia at the expense of a hand, a genuine urge to succumb to your own terror, did love hurt...or were you setting sail, preparing to transcend from this dimension to
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

An Exclusive Interview with Parvaaz - 'India's Most Exciting Rock Band Right Now'

The interview was scheduled to be conducted at 4. I had been waiting almost for an entire week for this slot, I was superbly excited, I hadn’t even slept well the night before and I wanted to do this before everything else that day. I had interviewed people before – including Noam Chomsky (of course not a telephonic one, though) and I had interviewed George Murphy (which was telephonic) and ‘Ships Have Sailed’ among others. I have done live interviews in the past. But the music created by these magicians were driving me so ecstatic that I was confused if I’d be able to do this at all.

I have been fanatically addicted to their music ever since (only like I’ve been to Pink Floyd prior to this) and I swear by, I would put them above Led Zeppelin on my top 10-ers list from the progressive perspective any day – Like, who would imagine a progressive rock “prog” band working this brilliantly in an industry and world like ours were people prefer ‘beats’ over indulgence, ‘beats’ over lyrics, ‘beats’ over tune and ‘beats’ above anything else in their lives? Beats, for sure are rhythm and Nikola Tesla once remarked that if you have to gain an understanding or two about this universe, you have to first try and feel it in terms of frequency. I have not been so flabbergastingly terrorised of beauty in music many times in life and for all the intuitive-natured music lovers waiting out there, get ready to get assured that Parvaaz is definitely the one ultimatum for your eccentric search towards a kind of distinct satiety that quenches your thirst in music like nothing else ever has previously (and I am not exaggerating a bit).

After a few minutes of breathless waiting, the band members were all finally there, connected to the call.

Kashif, Khalid, Sachin and Fidel - Hi, Hey, All of us here? Hello…

Me - Good afternoon. So, all the members are here. Is that right?

Parvaaz - Yes, we are.

Me - So, let us begin on a very positive note and I would be indeed very obliged if I’m allowed a chance to actually blabber about how flabbergasted I am at the moment and how brilliant your performances actually are. The lyrics reek elegance, you can literally smell it from a distance and the visuals created are just out of the world. How you could, really jeopardise a poet’s life is a matter of concern, you know?

Parvaaz – (Kashif chuckles in the background) Thank You…

Me – Alright, let us begin with the questions now and some of them are going to be asked specifically to the lyricists. I hope nobody will be offended in that case?

Khalid – Yeah, sure…go ahead.

Me – Yeah. So, the first question is who came up with the very idea of a “prog” band ; like you don’t get to see a lot of progressive rock bands if you dive into the history of rock music in India. How was this done at the first place?

Kashif – Well, I think there was no plan as such to become a prog band. That was not something we had specifically made up our mind about. We have just been playing music that we all connect with. And as for the genre, we’ve left it out for the audience to decide. We play what suits our time, way of playing…Yeah…that’s what I think (Chuckles)

Me – How was the band formed? Did you belong to the same university or was everyone an existent musician back in the time you connected with each other?

Sachin – Well, I think Kashif and Khalid were childhood friends and when they came here to Bangalore to study in the same university and that’s how it actually started. And me and Fidel, we used to play in a band, yeah? That was basically how we got together!

Me – That’s intriguing, even if it’s brief. Would you guys be able to name your favourite bands if I ask you to come up with the names one by one? Each one of you will have to tell me your names for reference because I will not understand otherwise.

Sachin – Yeah sure. Should we begin?

Khalid – Go ahead.

Sachin – Hey, I’m Sachin here and I think there would be a lot of favourites but Foo Fighters and Radiohead, yeah – these are the two favourite bands I guess…that come to mind. Fidel?

Fidel – Yeah, I think it’s like so many oldies, but if you’re talking favourite, Led Zeppelin is what comes to mind. And of course, Radiohead is doing immense amount of pathbreaking work,so…going on

Khalid – Kashif?

Kashif – I would mostly mention the same things as they mentioned. Floyd is a big influence, so that’s one that comes to mind right now…

Me – Yeah, your music seems to reflect that, you know?

Kashif – Yeah…

Khalid – I would mostly mention the same things as well…

Me – Where are the band members initially from? Like, say from the geographical orientation perspective?

Kashif – It was like Sachin said…

*Khalid laughs in the background.*

Khalid – Hey, Yeah I’m sorry, go ahead

Kashif – Sachin?

(Photograph : Shahid Nissar)

Sachin – Yeah, as I said – Kashif and Khalid are childhood friends. They’re from Kashmir and came down to Bangalore to study. Fidel is from Mangalore (not to be confused with Bangalore – say, Mangalore with the ‘M’) and I am from Bangalore.

Kashif – So, yeah…we all met up in Bangalore.

Me – Okay…Yeah. So, the lyrics part of your songs is really interesting. As in, who would dare to combine Urdu, Persian and Kashmiri – as in Kashmiri signifies a lot of Persian words, so how did you get the confidence to do it at the first place? And now people are listening, you’re getting better everyday.

Khalid – Kashif, yeah?

Kashif – Khalid, yeah go ahead…

Khalid – In our releases so far most of the lyrics have been written by Kashif and me and some additional songs have been written by a friend of ours named Umar Alaie.
The idea to write in these languages came naturally to us, as in – it came with a lot of poetry that we had to study in our schooldays and we wanted to include the influence somewhere in our work.

Me – Yeah, a lot of poetry is indeed visible… 

Khalid – Yeah...It’s a poetic land, so that’s where it comes from

Me – Are there any Kashmiri or Urdu poets that you draw inspiration from? Would you like to name a few of them?

Kashif – Yeah, there are many…there’s Mahjoor, there’s Allama Iqbal, and many others…

Me – Ah,so there’s, alright, so what I was talking about was that in the history of Indian music, there have hardly been bands that understand the concept of rock, so…what is the key ingredient on which this genre survives?

Kashif – Ah. Ow, good question, guys. How does rock survive?

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Letters to Vincent : Volume 1

Introduction - This series is a compilation of 10 letters written to Vincent Van Gogh, as an ode to his poetry (you heard that right). 

When a man is lost, what does he take with him? Shadows, flutters - of lashes and leaves, of bygone days, times and music, of...burnt roses and ashes in the clouds? The opportunity cost of losing yourself is just a cultural reference in a certain time frame. Gallows and caves reverberate footsteps, and the planets echo each other's name at times of nightfall. Cloudless, you draw the nebulae, the waves, the transition in spiral ecstasy. 

(Photograph Source: Medium)

The world was a burning pyre, in the summer months of grey. A
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Friday, May 11, 2018

Press Release : Thoda Bing Thoda Bang by RaOol!

Disclaimer : This is a sponsored post. However, opnions expressed are honest and of my own.

Auto-Pilot mein dil udne do' with 'Thoda Bing Thoda Bang' - the breakout single by international Aussie/Brit composer/rapper RaOol from his forthcomming project entitled 'Year of the Wolf.' Produced by Naamless & DJ Pain 1, and featuring bass heavy 808 drums and a sensual saxophone topline as cheeky as the lyrics, Thoda Bing Thoda Bang is guaranteed to bring zyada swag and zyada bang to the dancefloor!

If urban hip-hop and rap is your cup of tea, then add some interesting flavours to your cup – some extra swag to the platter served since this summer, RaOol is here to help you rock on and that extra oomph to the overall look of the party. In just a matter of 24 hours, it has garnered around 1 million views on YouTube!

UK Born and Australian raised, RaOol is an hip-hop artist, song-writer, lyricist, performer and the first NRI rapper to enter the Indian music industry. RaOol has the industry buzzing with his international sound complimented by his English-Australian accent.

The song will not only set the party mode on fire, but might as well help you add that extra touch of coherence and plain entertainment on your road trip with the special one in the weekends. If you’ve had a very tiring day and you want some enthusiasm and have no idea, where to gather it from – you might very well set this in no more than Vol 40 on your laptop and you’d see the difference it makes to the ambiance almost instantaneously. 
RaOol is the rapper behind Abhishek Bachchan's rocking performance in the box office smash hit Housefull 3, the theme song of Star Plus's flagship show DancePlus and DJ Bravo’s Tum Bin 2. RaOol is also the music-director for the item song ‘Malang’ in the Huma Quereshi starrer 'Dorbaara'. RaOol set a storm with his own single Desi Girls Do It Better #DGDIB, featuring Punjabi superstar Jaz Dhami. The single released via T-Series has now amassed a nearly 5 million views on YouTube.

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Monday, May 7, 2018

Coming Soon : Parvaaz in Conversation with The Perspectives!

Parvaaz, in my eyes, is the first South-Asian band who understand the concept of rock totally and completely and have a pungent, rich Kashmiri essence to all of their performances. 

People who have a propensity of reading Urdu poetry - Shayris, or just free verse scribbles by the amazingly appealing Sufi poets, people with an interest in Hindustani Classical Music or instruments associated with the same, people who love prog, psychedelic rock, the classic blues...Parvaaz has and will find lovers amidst loads of highly varying groups of people with vivid preferences in art. 

Most bands who have tried to form a 'rock band' in or around this subcontinent till date have either ended up making extremely mediocre music or have successfully made avid rubble out of nothing and reached nowhere. One very intriguing attribute about Parvaaz is that the members realise and at least Khalid Ahmed (their lead singer) is trained in classical music. The subsequent blend of 'classic' and 'cult' is indeed, brilliance drenched in spirit. 

You can listen to two of my personal favourites - 'Beparwa' and 'Gul Gushan' on YouTube. 

We are having a conversation about music soon and the update will be up on the blog on 15th May.
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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Will the Ages Roll...Will the Ages Fly?

Sitting on the top of the world, or as it may feel, when we indeed are sitting at a height we can afford to imagine - the transcendence of clouds into morbid creatures of spirit, ecstasy and melancholia all at the same time runs deep into the nerves. There is a certain hysterical tinge inside the spirit of ecstasy, it awakens at the sound of nothing and defies to accept or deny the existential aristocracy of celestial delight. The neon lights or incandescent yellow lamps that enamour the sullen streets like jewels from the Victorian era do not remotely incite the vulgarly sober reluctance to life as these beings from the outer world can. 

Out of all that one can choose to perform in one's limited space-time occupation, which is indeed a bit compelled on that note, is to gather matter for composing a musical obituary. Anything musical, as we must have known from the point of time our consciousness gained form, is that they turn into trees of the sort that call for thunderstorms, the ticking away of church bells or clocks that bind the togetherness of settlements across the shore, on a country road...far away from this worldly world, far away from its imaginary realism. 

The satellites and the towers that enlighten the glorious attempt of a city to dress itself up in laces and sub-marinal efficacy to its motion sometimes dream of deeper gallows that sustain mundane days. The diluted mimosas and daisies look up to thunderstorms, the birds at midnight
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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Top 6 Songs You Must Not Miss on May Day

1.       Joe Hill by Bruce Springsteen – This is one song that completes the historical significance of the day, and is a must-listen for all – not just because of the cultural significance but also because of the musical value it imparts on the environment. Guided by the beautiful lyrics to the strength that fulfils the very air of the people’s music genre, this is a jewel in itself.
2.       Which Side Are You On by Billy Bragg – The song was written by Florence Reece, the wife of union organizer Sam Reece. Sheriff J.H Blair and his men broke into their house inside in an attempt to intimidate the Reece family. Sam had already escaped by then but his children and Florence were terrorised instead. Later that night, she penned down this song at the back of a calendar page.

Although some might prefer the Pete Seeger version to this song, I personally prefer this version of the song instead. Beginning from the amazing appeal to the soulful rhythm, this too is a musical piece you must not restrain from experiencing at least once in your lifetime!

3.       Solidarity Forever by Pete Seeger – This one is a classic song of the workers and people who have attempted to make a change to the social system under adverse socio-political conditions. There is nothing much you can say about cult classics as this, but this definitely does progressively rise like a dream – dripped in fervent efficacy and spirit ; something you are not allowed to miss!

4. Union Burying Ground by Woody Guthrie -  This song literally screams "Rebel!" and all those people with aching hearts and weary minds out there, living in an unbearable dystopia day after day, this one's for you. This one's right here - waiting for you, in a dull evening, so that you can pen down sparks on paper once you reach home.

5. Fire in the Hole by Hazel Dickens - This is a basic, wonderfully pungent, spirited piece that represents the age-old crises of miner workers across the world. Dickens has done an amazing job with the whole-hearted performance and you certainly wouldn't like to miss a woman performing like that - it clearly lets you see how a soaring crowd could instantly enliven for and because of music.

6. Spancill Hill by The Dubliners - This is not exactly a 'May Day song', from a conservative radical perspective. But this one depicts the pain of forced conscription of an Irish
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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Two Musical Tracks That Can Change Your Life!

1. 'The Great Gig in The Sky' by Pink Floyd - This is so good that it might make you incompetent and keep you that way for hours. As if you're so awake and so sedated, so tranquil yet so vigorously energetic - all at the same time. The paranoia, the fierce energy and the lovely, absolutely out of the world vocals are all that goes into the literal composition of the song!

Clare Torry, the woman behind the orgasmic vocals featured in the track 

It indeed feels very cosmic at the core, almost as if someone is calling out your name in the course of resonance of frequencies. Prior to listening to this, I would never have known the wonders music can do to your body and your soul. There are perhaps two sides of the same story in every corner of the world, this brilliant composition could either leave you silent for hours and hours or could end up turning your world upside down in the matter of a moment in the course of a significant euphoria it immediately ensues. 

2. 'Usignolo' (Nightingale) by Yanni - If there is some meaning in the word 'alluring' and it truly adheres to realistic entities created on this planet, then 'Usignolo' is one of them. There is nothing I do not love about this track. The first time I tried to listen to it absolutely tranquil, lying on my bed, fervently lending a ear - I had a feeling that I was not competent enough to bear the raw beauty of the musical endeavour fused into melancholia in this track.

Lauren Jelencovich performing with Yanni and his orchestra

(Photograph Source: Wikipedia)

 It reminded me of Jodie Foster's fanatical 'They should have sent a poet..." in 'Contact' and of Kirsten Dunst's soul-haunting expression in Von Trier's 'Melancholia'. It reminded me of the Whirlpool galaxy and of ARP 194 and a cumination of Milky Ways merging together, coming closer. It sent waves down my spine, and I was staring in wild oblivion at every other object around me. This one has been on loop on my playlist ever since then! 
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Monday, April 9, 2018

The Story of Dicey Reilly : The Woman Who Walked Along Fitzgibbon Street with an Independent Air

The story of Dicey Reilly would be significant enough for two reasons; first, that it is a story far more than a song ( who knows if a story is always a song, in the end? ) and second, it is a beautiful Irish story/song. 
Everything that I hear about the Irish culture leaves me dwelling with a memory that I never consciously acquired in this lifetime. And I am being the most truthful I possibly can be. This song, in particular, is savagely feministing in a sea of patriarchal waves and the approach is so evidently socio-cultural, that you just can't deny what it says deep within. 
Moreover, the introduction that Ronnie Drew provides at the beginning of the song is a challenge to institutional advocacy in music in one of the most easygoing methods one has ever had a chance to perceive. 

Dicey Reilly Lyrics
Source: Genius

Oh poor old Dicey Reilly she has taken to the sup
Oh poor old Dicey Reilly she will never give it up
For it's off each morning to the pop
And then she's in for another little drop
For the heart of the rowl is Dicey Reilly

Oh she walks along Fitzgibbon street with an independent air
And then it's down Summerhill and as the people stare
She says it's nearly half past one, and it's time I had another little one
Ah the heart of the rowl is Dicey Reilly

Long years ago when men were men and fancied May Oblong
Or lovely Beckie Cooper or Maggie's Mary Wong
One woman put them all to shame, just one was worthy of the name
And the name of the dame was Dicey Reilly

Oh but time went catching up on her like many pretty whores
And it's after you along the street before you're out the door
The balance weighed and they look all fade, but out of all that great brigade
Still the heart of the rowl is Dicey Reilly

The song belongs to more of a spoken-word genre, with hardly any significant melody you can boast about and the semi-argumentative approach in the lyrics leaves you wuthering from one place to the other before you have a chance to gather what's going on.

The structure of the song is not one of the symmetrical, pretty pieces you see stacked on the shelves of modern music record labels but is highly unpolished, abrased in a way you're supposed to enjoy - very much like the effect of whiskey in Irish coffee. 

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