Today’s Special – à la carte

June 21, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Posted in Bengaluru, criticism, music | 2 Comments
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Bonjour!

“Tout ce que dit en français, des sons de classe” – ‘Anything said in French, sounds classy’ – Monsieur. Abhishek, Circa 2009.

Well, enough of dillydallying.Yesterday, Akshay and I, had been to the Fête de la Musique, at the Alliance Française de bangalore. A cozy place, and a Cultural hangout for the French, in Bangalore. We had no clue of the lineup, and I, had almost thought that it was the ‘Galeej Gurus’ who’d be performing.

I saw the calendar, and it said “Today’s Special“. And that, was the name of the band. Band names[ and songs] mostly come out as as the aftereffects of drunken revelry. [ Considering that this band cites whiskey and beer to be some of their driving influences, my guess isn’t that far-fetched 😛 ].

And needless to say, it’s a decent pun as well. I suppose they get stuff like, ” And Ladies and Gentlemen, Today’s special performance is by well, Today’s Special”, all the time. Much like when there was this bunch [including Frank Noon], who called themselves The Next Band“. [ And the Next band is ……] , or even better, this group that performed at Decibels at Saarang 2009. It was simply called “The Previous Band“. Man, the confusions.

‘Today’s Special’ was listed in the lineup for Saarang as well. I couldn’t see the entire Decibels event, hence must have missed them there.

Anyway, about yesterday’s performance. Absolutely loved it. Primarily funk based music, and the fact that they can dabble in with a bit of metal as well, makes them extra special.

Today's special

Now, that’s some branding. Bound to impress.

Here’s what the band has to say about themselves.

We are a Bangalore based blues rock band, mostly into classic blues, blues rock and retro hard rock, with an added flavour of funk.We cover songs of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Phish and the likes, and also compose originals that fall in the same taste.”

Some would call it confusing and disoriented that they have so many influences, but the fact that they switch easily between these at will in their tracks, makes them versatile, I feel.

The Band’s line up [ I picked this from the website, I’m sure about at least the vocals and the bassist], and my opinions about them:

Aditya : Vocals – Roaring, High voice at times, which suits the retro style very much. Could do a semi-growl if need be, I guess. The lyrics are very much set to the swing style [ Elvis -like ], and this chap sings fast-paced as the style demands.

Dhruv : Guitars -Very Naice, Sir. Nice techniques, the sweep Picking was awesome, and the riffs were very distinct.

Sathwick : Drums – Brings the song into picture right from the start. The bass and the drums combination is probably the signature of this band, from what I could make out from most of their numbers.

Shalini : Bass – Let’s get out the most obvious fact first. A Female bassist? Yes, that’s something really rare. Unique enough to feature an independent wiki.

Ok, once the whole hullaballoo and temporary jaw-dropping was done, we were actually in awe of her performance. One hell of a bassist. And as I said just two lines before [ were you noticing?? ], the bass+ drum intros defined the course of the song.

Yesterday’s performance featured originals like “Aloo Tikki” and covers like “Hush – Deep Purple“, and “Woman – WolfMother“. The wolfmother cover was nearly identical, and the highlight of the gig, for me.

One minor complaint is that once I tried to some post-concert searching for this band, its tracks and lyrics, I was thoroughly pissed off.

It’s a pain googling for them. Try some innocent search term like “Aloo Tikki Today’s Special”, and a hajar Tarla Dalal like cooking sites pop up.Aargh. With a little Search engine kungfu I could manage to find their myspace page, and some two tracks. Seriously guys, A Blog comes for free these days.

Kindly to be setting one up soonly. Thank you.

Akshay pointed out yesterday that Rock n Metal music seems to have dried up in Bangalore for the past few months, what with absolutely no gigs of interest happening.

Genetically mutated concert organizers, Please take note.

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Times of India – Bangalore Festival

October 20, 2008 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Bengaluru, Carnatic, Ethics, humour, music | 2 Comments
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I have been appreciative of The Times of India with respect to two aspects so far.
•Newspaper in Education (N.I.E)
•Providing hosting space for R.K.Laxman’s awesome offline cartoon strips.
I add one more to that illustrious list today. The TOI Bengaluru Festival.

The PR guys at TOI have been spot on, while conceptualizing an event of this scale. They have gained lots of public goodwill for sure.

Sunday evening featured a fusion concert by U.Shrinivas on the Mandolin, Steven on the Keyboard, and Sivamani on anything that could be remotely called as a percussion instrument.

This was my first visit to Palace grounds ( surprising, yet true ). I realised its ginormity first hand, by landing on the opposite end and doing a complete circumferential tour.

The only means of entry were the generous free passes given at TOI venues, which unfortunately I didn’t have. I was waiting for a friend who apparently got enticed by the Bangalore traffic, and would turn up late.

Seeing me wait at the gates, a kind Police Maama let me in. I assure you, this was not a security lapse. It must have been my very innocent looking face.
The free pass system only exists, to keep a certain degree of vandals out of the venue ( The ones who are really lazy not to get passes ). True audiophiles ( such as yu-know-whu) should be let in without such formalities.

The host, a Ms. Rachana Bharadwaj,was greeted in typical boorish fashion, as is now synonymous with beautiful emcees. A cultural evening, did you say?
Shrinivas took centrestage, Sivamani to his right, and Steven to his left. The spotlight however was to change directions in a while.

Shrinivas began with a smooth Jazz piece, with each passing note creating a delightful sensation. Mandolin is a classy instrument, and He, having reached the pinnacle of perfection, can do such fascinating gamakas on it.
The second piece was even better. He was forced,however, to make it an interlude, as Nature decided to improvise.
Intensely ironic, the rain did fall in torrents.

I, being, of the vertically challenged variety, wasn’t even able to see the artists before. The rain proved to be quite useful. Many Pseduo-interested people, and not-so-enthusiastic Old Uncle-Aunty pairs decided to flee. And I chose to use this opportunity to go to the very front.

The artists, being wary of their instruments, stopped playing. Finally paying heed to the crowd chanting “Shivu, Shivu”, Mani decided to show us a tiny subspace of his vast repertoire of Percussion knowledge.
He began with a huge Suitcase, and the audience went crazy. This was to be the defining moment of the concert, with audience demanding an encore at various times, just by shouting ” Suitcase, Suitcase “.

Deciding not to tease the audience further, he went back to the drums. This time, aided by a DJ playing Kannada songs in the background.

Songs, like ” Baanallu Neene,Buviyallu Neene”, etc. The crowd went insane when he started ” Huttidare Kannada Naadalli Huttabeku”, and rightly so. And by the crowd, I mean myself as well.
Some idiot deciding to be a supreme-idiot, hurled some obscenities about Dr.Rajkumar. The police took good care of him. Surprisingly, the chap was a Kannadiga. Troubled times, these.

We were absolutely drenched in the rain, and yet we were dancing to the tunes of Humma Humma. Such was the magic in Sivamani’s beats.
Many of my friends are majorly repenting for not having attended this concert. Poor Souls.

Eventually, it stopped raining. The artists started a three layered piece, with the artists trying to blend into each other by the end of each cycle. Shrinivas was wickedly quick, and it became kinda tough to follow, yet melodious to listen.
Steven’s keyboard was making majestic soaring sounds, that seem to balance the tempo created by Siva’s beats.

The last piece of the concert was an improvised version of Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram, with mandolin being the ruling instrument.

Rachana seemed to have forgotten that there were artists other than Sivamani on the stage, but she seemed too excited to care.
Siva announced Shrinivas’s name eventually, and the crowd cheered in unison. He also thanked the audience in kannada, speaking about ” Raagi Mudde” etc, and we were naturally pleased.

Siva continued, this time with bottles, watercans, the Daayan of a Tabla, some pots, and everything else he could lay his hands on. It was just ama-jing. In the coming few days, if you find me percussioning random objects, don’t be surprised.

Too bad, I can’t make it to Shivkumar Sharma’s Santoor concert. Do visit it, if you have the chance.
The pass may be free, but the event shall be priceless.

Thanks again, to the Times of India, The Bangalore Police ( for letting me in, and for controlling the unruly crowd), and most importantly to the artists, for having given Bangalore a dreamy rainy evening to remember. ( and to Rachana, for being so pretty ).

Cheerio,

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Dinga Product Launch. Audio-Phish a.k.a De-Reshammiya Filter

August 2, 2008 at 4:34 pm | Posted in arbit, criticism, humour, music, narcissism, sarcasm, Technical | 7 Comments
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[written with absolute permission from Dha, and Moral Insurance from Takal (just in case) ]

It was a festive atmosphere in the Dinga Electronics ™ campus on Thursday. A small gathering witnessed the launch of a revolutionary product in the field of consumer electronics.

Shri. Muthappa Rai, renowned reporter of the world-famous newspaper “Karavali Ale”,      was in Udupi to cover a murder scheduled later that evening.  After a pressing request by Logik, that this report would fetch him the PULL-it-Saar prize, he reluctantly came to     cover the event.

Chief Dingologist P.S.L.V. Babu, and Senior Dingineer Sadagopan Ramesh, described       their motivation to create the Audio-Phish™.

” It was just unbearable. We couldn’t tolerate it any more. People like Himesh Reshammiya were inflicting aural torture the likes of which, we have never heard before”. ” And then there were these countless reality shows as well. Mindless retards. Horrible Horrible. ” – Mr.Babu said reflecting his profound thoughts to our now, hapless reporter.

“We felt we owed it bigtime, to the society, and to the future generation. We realized      the need for a product that would obviate these crass voices once and for all. ” said Sadagopan Ramesh, looking obviously pleased, with this new found attention.

Ramesh continued. ” We hit a roadblock mapping Reshammiya’s voice to current noise models. Even Gaussian seemed melodious compared to him. Which is when we took the aids of Dha, a man so well known in audio processing circles.

” Of course. What were you thinking? Gaussian it seems.Pfft. The Himeshian model is so so complex. It is not just-white-noise. ” remarked Dha, in between games of Minesweeper, slyly gaining some Google-juice in the process.

After months of hard-work, The Dinga team has proudly launched the Audio Phish [ codenamed De Reshammiya Filter].

” This is still a prototype. We have just managed to make him sound like Sonu Nigam as of now. It will take us at least months, if not years, to get some decent sounds.” quipped Ramesh. ” Questions from anyone in the media? “, he said, obviously pointing to the one and only Muthappa.

” Now, what if Himesh comes to know of this, and sticks it down his . umm. throat? Wouldn’t that limit your sales to just one piece, and achieve similar results.?” asked Mr.Rai, beaming at having come up with such a brilliant doubt.

” Actually, make that two. One for each naris/nostril. Yes. That is a valid point. Which is why we are not seeking much publicity. We are just planning to put all this info up on a third-rate blog. And now, your paper as well. ” Mr.Babu replied, delicately avoiding any references to the atrocious piece of trash, that is Karavali Ale.

” Any copyright suits expected?”

” Probably just one. For flicking that pic from HHGTTG“.

” That’s it gentlemen. This is a joyous moment for us, for we know, that in our own humble way, we have saved millions from an imminent brain-freeze.”

Mr. Muthappa Rai looked exuberant as this pathetic show came to an end, and he bouncily jumped in joy.

The dingologist, and the dingineer rejoiced in their unique way.

“Hey, isn’t that the Bingo guys?. Are you planning on a merger?” asked the ever-inquisitive Rai.

” Listen, dude. Question time is over.” “Damn. The news shouldn’t have come out so soon. Yes , we’re planning on a new food-products division. We are yet to decide on a name though. ”

Bingo-Dinga, and Dingo-Binga both sound like African cuss-words”. mentioned Logik, haughtily considering himself so important that he had to do a self-reference.

Regular readers might be aware of the deal. Takal obviously irritated with the lack of publicity for Davangere Food Products, took on Dha in a verbal duel.

Dha says – ” You know what. You’d anyway be killed in that weird incident, by Sads, who would be taking over Davangere Semi Conductors. And if he doesn’t, I’ll certainly sh00t you, and take over Davangere Food Products”. , fondly reliving his glorious days on Dc++.

Takal says- ” Ha Ha. D.F.P’s output would just be self-sufficient for its CEO then.” taking a violent jab there, and making a below-the-belly joke.

Dha replied- ” Don’t ejaculate with joy there, Yoga-Boy. I know all about your deeds. ”

Looking exasperated after this vicious remark, Takal left the scene, vowing to avenge this defeat.

While the day drew to a close, the absence of famous Wildlife Photographer, and avid Hornithologist S.U.Saravanakumar, was deeply regretted. Despite an official invite from Logik, it is said that he went off to  Manipal, to watch the cheer-babes at the newly formed Udupi Premier League Kabaddi matches.

Dha, obviously gleaming with joy, at having directed such a great project, went on to address the gathering.

” This, in my not-so-humble opinion, should be the IEEE standard for Indian Humour blogposts”.

He also shouted ” All Hail the Son of Bosey“, for no apparent reason, before he was whisked off for security reasons, still maintaining the ambiguity in the minds of the readers, whether this was a tribute or a parody.

Cheerio.

Swar Sagar By Praveen Godkhindi

September 30, 2007 at 8:29 am | Posted in criticism, literary, music | 2 Comments

The sound from a flute is mesmerizing, and when played by certain gifted geniuses, gives the rasikas a feel of intense joy, or allows one to enjoy the depth presented by the gloomy blues kinda composition- a feeling brought about by the choice of the raga, the occasion, and the rendition.

By some good karma , I had been to mangalore with a good friend of mine[1], who had an extra ticket to the Praveen Godkhindi concert. The extra ticket belonged to another good friend[2], who is out in bengaluru right now, and couldn’t make it due to a GREat academic rush [ Best of luck].

Anyways, this concert is part of a state-wide tour by the famous flautist trio; three generations playing together on stage. Master Shadaj Godkhindi,Sur-Mani Praveen Godkhindi and Pandit Venkatesh Godkhindi.

The programme is called Swar Sagar, conducted by Aalap events & Media. An innovative idea, getting three generations under one roof, connected by a common skill to display their unique edge at playing the Bansuri. This was held at the T.M.A. Pai Convention Centre in Mangalore. A huge auditorium with the architecture of a sky-dome, and with the lighting set to give the ambience of a night sky.

The performance began with a solo piece from Master.Shadaj in the Raag Hansadhwani. He has picked up the art pretty well, drawing from techniques that his father usually displays. He might not be a child prodigy, yet given that he is 6 , he is sure to make a mark in the world of music in the times to come. The rendition was deep, and carried with grace. His high swaras are not yet upto mark, and he is yet to cope up with playing at a high pace, both of which can be easily improved considering the skills of his gurus. Hansadhwani is not an easy Raag to pull off, hence the effort was commendable.

The next item was the center-piece of the show, the trio performance. The Raag chosen was Yaman, to be played in two gats. As each performer , with the tabla being the fourth element, played their piece, the audience was spell-bound at the family’s talents.As the tempo increased, and the four players converged to the last beat , we realised that we saw a really unique , and spectacular performance. With co-ordination brought about solely by experience, the flow between the various artists was very smooth.

One of the advantages as well as drawbacks of being regularly exposed to SPIC MACAY concerts is that, after witnessing brilliant, inspiring performances, with well-behaved , and a cultured audience, we find it tough to fully appreciate concerts in which the audience keeps moving about or the stage is set to include various special effects, lighting etc. That concentration, the oneness with the music is hard to get, with all these nonsense floating around. This stands as an appeal to the organisers.

The famous fusion band “Krishna” performed next. Godkhindi is involved with this band for a number of years now, and they’ve collaborated with a number of lead artists, showing the diversity as well as similarity that exists between various forms, hindusthani, carnatic, and western. Praveen Godkhindi, having learnt the styles of different gharanas, as well as exposed to carnatic shaili, can adapt to various genres with ease. They played raag Bhoop / Mohana , and then the famous composition Midnight trek which I think was in the Raag Malkhauns.

The artist took some time to interact with the audience on issues close to him. He brought up the issue of commercial concerts. Should there be ticket versions of concerts, or should they be of a ” free- show” variety. He mentioned that artists get an extra impulse to perform if he is monetarily supported, even if it’s nominal. Agreed. The rasikas should be patrons to the artists. Then he said that the audience are more involved coz they’ve paid for it. That, I feel was utter nonsense. People who’ve taken pains to take the tickets, come there for the love of the art, to see great musicians perform, to enjoy, and be inspired from the music. If it was free, many more interested people would have been part of the audience, that’s all.

Over-all a memorable evening, getting to see an artist perform live, whose music for me was so far limited to mp3’s.[ not a patron, in this case; me sorry]

P.S:-
[1]- Aparna
[2]- Saranya

P.P.S- In case you’re wondering why I’ve added so many references in my post, that’s coz I’ve been reading a hajaar research papers of late.

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