The first half of May saw all indie releases, except for one. But even that can be clubbed into this sector as it’s primarily a singer-songwriter effort. Thematically, there are subtle references to the horrific times we are living in, while a boiling Bangla rap song announces its presence to the world loudly.
Phishphash Juuge – Rupam Islam
Bengal’s rockstar Rupam Islam released a thought-provoking song on the raging pandemic that has gripped India again. He reflects on the Bengal elections and how that exacerbated the rise in positive Covid cases while bed shortages continue. On one hand, he talks about the pains and screams of people while speaking of hope on the other. Musically, the song has far too many elements – from being an acoustic guitar effort, it takes on the mighty sounds of arena rock arrangements and falls into a piano passage which acts as a relief near the end while the interlude has incoherent spoken phrases. In this case, while too many cooks did not spoil the broth, it certainly made it less savory.
Protikhya – Borno Anonyo
The sombre moods which announce the song set a precedent that is found throughout it. Technically an audio play, it combines the compositions of Rabindranath Tagore and Shakti Chattopadhyay to paint a picture of hope, clouded in the shell of suffering and emptiness. The most interesting part is the usage of the rhubab, an Afghani instrument, along with frame drums and mandira to create a soundscape that is steeped in the rich traditions of history yet afoot in the future, where one can only expect new sounds to be discovered.
Nishiddho Porowana – Prithibi
High octane right from the start, Prithibi sets new precedents for Bangla rock with this song. Two distorted guitars play dense riffs while the bass provides a melodic pattern. Surprisingly, the vocals start soft but reach the intensity in the chorus, flying off along with the music. Intriguingly, though the sound has a post-grunge feel to it, there are elements of 80s style glam rock that add a commercial hook. Dealing with disturbing phenomena of abuse and unwanted children, there is a silver lining of rebuilding lives and moving up in life. The brilliantly executed outro, where the band is tight as a whip, is reminiscent of Dream Theater.
Bangla Agun – Cizzy ft. AayondaB
The latest offering from Kolkata’s burgeoning rap scene, ‘Bangla Agun’ or Bengal fire sees city rapper Cizzy collaborating with Mumbai-based producer AayondaB for this firebrand of a song. Fast, visceral and in-your-face, this song takes down the assumed superiorities that people have. He also prophesizes the advent of Bangla rap that is catching Bengal by fire, with contemporary social factors forming lyrical backgrounds. The music uses straight beats but uses dark and illusionary moods that complement the challenging nature of the track.
Dekha Hobe Taratari – Subharambha
The only commercial track on the list, this is far from established notions of formulaic industry songs. A singer-songwriter effort by Debanjan Dhar, it plays with the wonders of arpeggiated chords as much as it plays with the flowering of new love. It talks about meeting very soon in the near future where hearts will converge, but only if there’s honesty. A soft song, it has a piano and subtle sounds coming together to take the simple song and give it an air of grandeur that surprisingly suits the soothing template.