Im trying to get my mind wrapped around the very diverse ten tracks, and not finding a unifying anthem through the album, I am treating these songs as individual compositions for the purposes of criticism.
A R rahman used to do this kind of thing in his early tamil film scores. The score for Kadhalan, for instance, would have one soundbite of pure carnatic music seducing the listener on behalf of Nagma(the heroine of the film) , and the next one would be a complete chennai equalent of a frat boy comedy in five minutes.
You wouldn’t know quite what to make of the mood shifts across the album, until you saw the film and then the soundtrack would fall in place, because you’d see the songs as high emotional points in the film. The melody in the melodrama would be part of the one two punch of a film. ARR, the OST composer would have earned his keep, while indulging in his need to compose diverse genres into the same album. You realize that ARR is doing compositional heavy lifting here, not dabbling in many genres or styles.
In this same spirit , from dilli 6 here are three very diverse tracks, each a classic in its chosen genre. The abiding feature of the album is the peace in each track. ARR composes no sudden moves,while easing the techno …or genre mixes in , almost without us realizing that we’ve suddenly started dancing to Bhangra, in what started off as a hip hop track
To the songs…
The simple ones:
Bhor bhayi is a remix . its a bade ghulam ali khan thumri in gurjari todi (todi is very popular with film composers of hindustani classical music. Ja Ja Re from Lekin, Insaan bano from Baiju bavra and Jo Tum Todo Piyafrom silsila in gurjari todi, Jhoote naina bole from Lekin in bilaskani todi. ) Shreyas ghosal does a voice over. (presuming here that Soha will be picturized singing this to a grahamphone record. This is a voiceover technique used in a couple of films before. The song ketaki gulab juhi (basant bahar) had a very classical Bhimsen joshi pitting voices with the more pop Mohammed rafi, for instance. In this song, Shreyas sounds very much like the student. while she sounds outclassed in training and easy of rendition, she is more than equal to taking the melody of the thumri and making it her own.
Rehna Tu : A R Rahman, Benny Dayal, Tanvi : is a lounge classic from AR Rahman that walks us through an amazing array of smooth jazz and soft rock genres. When ARR overdoes the smooth in jazz, he does so with an enthusiasm that is so endearing that you like the song much , in the end, even if smooth jazz is a genre you loathe.
It starts like an old deva favorite from the film kadhal kottai.That song( Kalamellam Kadhal )featured a kenny G style sax cameo, Or even ARR’s New york nagaram from sillendru oru kadhal.Soon we’re awash in california smooth jazz. The song then morphs into a pop ballad in Rahman’s voice and sounds very yanni.
A change in scales wakes up the melody luxuriously…..and then the Oud(Iraqi instrument) takes over and floats us down middle eastern coloring…. but not long enough…we waft back into the reinforced main melody… is he holding the song too long? it’s already four minutes gone….wait…there’s more….you give up. he wafts you gently into a mandolin srinivas(styled) hamsadwani on a synthesizer/panflute….for another two minutes….and the sounds are in your head …gentle..long after the melody has faded out…
An openended blend of genres. it lets you define where your mind wants to go next.. mine , for some reason, went to the Amjad Ali khan(edit: Pandit VM Bhatt on the guitar. thx qalandar for pointing this out..) cameo on the Rahman composed Iruvar song Narumughaye (go to 1:30 to 2:10, and again 3:52- 4:06).
Brings together a few musical ideas ARR has been playing with in his mind for some time. One is a genuine rap sound (bony chakravarthy?), which the track opens with, the second is the early hiphop sound he worked on in the apache Indian ( No Problem)collaborated album, Love birds which had a song that was titled Om Santhi Om Santhi (with aslam mustapha) . The arab coloring blends pretty seamlessly with the rap but this is not the last…we morph smoothly into bhangra! I’d explored this in a photograph of a poster I saw in New york city a couple of months ago…a smooth blend of bhangra and hiphop is the most logical possible of popular musical blends. Good job AR! The small problem is that the song is not long enough. is a remix and a longer version in the offing?
Dilli 6 is the most freeform set of compositions from ARR (or anyone, really) Ive heard in a long time …I might post more on the utter freedom from genre dictated constraints in these songs, subsequently, but three here were fun to deconstruct.