The Guitar Society 15 July 2011
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Albatross to Collaborate with U.S. Band on ‘Split EP’
According to Albatross bassist Riju Dasgupta (Dr. Hex), Vestal Claret lead singer Phil Swanson is his “fifth favourite vocalist of all time (after King Diamond, Niklas Stalvind – who’s also singing on this record – Geoff Tate and Bruce Dickinson) and I’ve loved almost every band he’s been in”. Describing how the two bands came together Dasgupta said, “Thankfully an Albatross fan had made a YouTube video for “In the Court of Kuru” which I linked to Phil, which he consented to listen to. Minutes later, he was asking me if I’d want to do a split record with Vestal Claret. My jaw hit the floor.”
Vestal Claret’s Phil Swanson seems pretty impressed with the Indian metal scene as well– “It seems like India is the new hotbed of heavy metal like Japan was in the ’80s and South America in the ’90s-2000s. India probably has the most enthusiastic and honest outlook on heavy metal in the world right now and should be considered the new pride of heavy metal. From what I’ve seen and heard lately in India versus the rest of the world, India will be the metal stronghold over the next five to 10 years.”
Each band will contribute four songs. The EP, titled Here Come the Kissing Flies, is based on a story concept written by Dasgupta.
Melancholic Ecstasy: The Top 10 Indian Ocean Songs
10. “Khajuraho” from Kandisa
“Khajuraho” from Kandisa starts off sounding almost like a prayer, with Sanskrit sholakas towards the beginning, and later Sanjeev Sharma’s Hindi lyrics exploring the concept of maya. This all makes perfect sense, as “Khajuraho” is dedicated to the town by the same name in Madhya Pradesh, which has an ample amount of medieval Hindu and Jain temples. With plenty of twits and turns and layers, this song definitely makes it to the list of top Indian Ocean compositions. Kandisa is an important album as Times Music helped market Indian Ocean’s music properly for the first time, and following the release of Kandisa, the band toured all over the world.
9. “Melancholic Ecstasy” from Indian Ocean
“Melancholic Ecstasy” from Indian Ocean, the band’s debut album released only on cassette, offers a unique juxtaposition of emotions ranging from melancholy to bliss, the composition moving from a soft, somber, sluggish pace to a faster, jazzier tempo, ending with a bang.
8. “Jhini” from Jhini
“Jhini” from Jhini, Indian Ocean’s fourth album recorded in the picturesque Varadeipalyam, Andhra Pradesh, is a memorable folk number, with references to Kabir. The incorporation of the tablas along with rustic vocals gives “Jhini” a traditional feel. Also worth a special mention is the angst-ridden “After the War” from the same album, which makes you contemplate the futility of war and bloodshed.
7. “Bhor” from Jhini
“Bhor” from Jhini is a “feel-good” composition celebrating early mornings. “Bhor” is full of rich imagery about birds flying, the beauty of the early hours, and the magic of love. The use of the flute is beautiful and helps create a joyful mood.
6. “Des Mera” from Jhini
“Des Mera” from Jhini is an extremely lively, upbeat composition dedicated to the diversity of India. The vocal percussions are fun to listen to. The composition gained even more popularity when it was re-released as part of the film Peepli Live’s soundtrack.
5. “Bandeh” from Black Friday
“Bandeh” from Anurag Kashyap’s film Black Friday is an extremely important Indian Ocean composition given the fact that it reached number two on film music charts and also increased their fan-following immensely. “Bandeh” is thought-provoking, calling for peace and harmony. The guitar solos towards the end of the composition are brilliant. “Bharam Bhaap Ke,” also from Black Friday, is worth a mention, too, especially for Piyush Mishra’s excellent, deep lyrics.
4. “From the Ruins” from Desert Rain
“From the Ruins” from Desert Rain, Indian Ocean’s second album and first live album released by any Indian band at the time, has a haunting, somber melody, with brief shlokas interspersed. Even though the track is almost eight minutes long, it is an absolutely gorgeous piece and demonstrates that even simple melody can be built upon and developed so it maintains listener interest until the very last moment. An interesting tidbit about Desert Rain is that the live recording happened on New Year’s Day of 1997 at a concert when the band happened to notice a DAT recorder by chance. While no music company wanted to release their live album, and they had to create a label called Independent Music, the album later ended up making it to #2 on the iTunes U.K. world music charts in 2006 – talk about standing the test of time!
3. “Kaun” from Kandisa
“Kaun” from Kandisa is one of Indian Ocean’s strongest compositions with superb Sufi philosophical lyrics by Sanjeev Sharma exploring brotherhood and maya – “Kaun bhalaa kaun buraa, sab mein aks uskaa basaa…Kaun chaddhaaye roz yeh suraj, pawan kaun phoonkey?” (Who is good, who is bad, in everyone is God’s reflection… Who makes the sun crawl up each morning, who gives breath to the wind?). The steady percussion arrangements, soulful vocals, interesting bass and guitar riffs, build-up and release of energy and pace throughout are absolutely rocking and will transport you to a state of musical bliss.
2. “Torrent” from Jhini
Well, well, Jhini sure is a winner, because once more another composition from the album makes it to this list – “Torrent” is an outstanding instrumental track which captivates you from the very start, leaving you mesmerized and breathless ’til the very end with excellent guitar riffs, percussion arrangements and soft humming. The composition is very soothing, and flows smoothly. The perfect song to listen to on sleepless nights!
1. “Subaah Ki Roshni” from Hulla
“Subaah Ki Roshni” from Jaideep Varma’s film Hulla makes it to the top of the list. The lyrics are extremely fresh – “Subaah ki roshni bas ek nayi, baaki sab baasi baasi hai” (Only the morning’s light is new, everything else is stale, simply stale). The song’s tempo and vocal rendition perfectly establishes the emotions of being bored with mundane routine. All elements of the composition come together perfectly. It’s a shame neither “Subaah Ki Roshni” nor “Doob Raha Hai” from Hulla got much coverage or notice due to the marketing of the film and its music.
WORLD Music NEWS
Jimmy Page’s Official Website Unveiled Today
Today marks the launch of Jimmy Page’s first official website, JimmyPage.com. “I think this is the ideal vehicle to present my past, present and future work,” the Led Zeppelin legend said in a press release.
The guitar god was responsible for the website’s conception – which includes the daily “On This Day” feature. Each day, an event from Page’s career will be highlighted through a multimedia presentation of video, audio, rare images, unreleased material and more. Each entry will be accompanied by a “personal anecdote” from Page, too.
Yet, each entry will be available for only 24 hours. A press statement guarantees that there will be no archive and once an item is gone, it’s gone from the site for good.
Eventually the website also will include an overview of Page’s recorded work (with notes from the man himself) and an online store selling rare and exclusive pieces.
“I’ve had the domain name for a number of years,” Page said. “I’ve just been sitting on it and a number of people had made approaches about setting something up and it got to a point that it felt it was the right time to put the website together.”
Six-String Genius: Robert Fripp
Robert Fripp’s name may not be a household word – unless your household rocks to the sound of prog, ambient and psychedelic music. In those arenas, the trailblazing guitarist from the English village of Dorset, who just turned 65 on May 16, is an icon.
Fripp has been an innovator since 1966 when he co-formed the group Giles, Giles and Fripp with drummer Michael Giles and his bassist brother Peter. The band’s sole released album, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp, has a sense of overt whimsy often missing from the music of King Crimson and other Fripp ensembles, yet evident in the guitarist’s writings and conversation.
While Fripp sometimes denies that he is the leader of King Crimson and has labeled himself their rhythm guitarist, he is the band’s sole constant since its inception in 1968 and the release a year later of the group’s debut In The Court of the Crimson King, a foundational work in the prog-rock world. Taking cues from classic music and jazz, and exploring his own ideas about textural sonics, the album craftily unreels: from the grind of “21st Century Schizoid Man,” with Fripp shaking ferocious leads from his Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty, to the balladry of “I Talk to the Wind,” a showcase for the vocals of pre-ELP Greg Lake, to the three-part title track suite, which embraces pastoral melodies and maniacal improvisations.
The band, with its carousel of personnel save for Fripp, went on hiatus from 1974 to 1981, returning in its most popular incarnation with fellow creative six-string firebrand Adrian Belew also on guitar, the estimable Tony Levin on bass and drummer Bill Bruford rejoining Fripp’s fold. That lineup’s first three studio albums are essential listening for those interested in hearing rock arrangements for a basic four-piece ensemble writ large, and to get a grip on the rhythmic and harmonic verities of Fripp’s self-proclaimed “new standard tuning”: C-G-D-A-E-G. Fripp has used this tuning exclusively since 1984.
Although King Crimson continue to conjure up inspiring music, Fripp has kept a variety of side projects alive along the way and has played on sessions for other daring musicians including David Sylvian and, most notably, Peter Gabriel and David Bowie. Fripp’s playing on Bowie’s classic “Heroes” helped take textural guitar to the mainstream in 1977.
Recording that influential album, which moved John Lennon to proclaim that his ambition was to “do something as good as ‘Heroes,’”was also part of Fripp’s ongoing partnership with the producer and sonic experimenter Brian Eno.
With Eno, Fripp was on the ground floor of ambient music right on the heels of minimalist composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley. Using a system involving two tape recorders that he dubbed “Frippertronics,” Fripp was able to create primitive loops for his effected guitar on 1973’s No Pussyfooting and 1975’s Evening Star collaborations with Eno. Rarely has a duo created such soaring, majestic and creative music. Their discs and Eno’s many other ambient recording offer much with close listening, but smooth out the crannies of environmental and personal stress with passive airing, giving them curative power.
Fripp has appeared on more than 700 recordings, including his solo albums, which range from 1979’s song-oriented Exposure (with guest turns from Peter Gabriel, Darryl Hall and others) to his latest live solo soundscapes, guest turns and collaborative recordings.
Early on, Fripp was a staunch proponent of the Gibson Les Paul Custom. His original King Crimson guitars were a pair of Black Beauties from 1957 and ’59, with the ’57 specially wired with a pot for the middle pickup’s volume. After going through a variety of guitars in the past decades – in search for the ideal six-string synth controller – he’s come back to a custom model with a Les Paul body shape, albeit built entirely as one piece, not with a set-in Gibson style neck.
Early on Fripp became a wizard at cross picking, a rolling syncopated method of striking the strings that he has elevated to a blazing level of virtuosity. It is no exaggeration to call his guitar playing consistently stunning, which is why he has been part of several of Joe Satriani’s “G-3” tours. Every canny guitarist has an admiration for Fripp at some level, even if they find his music too challenging, experimental or abstract
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