Sharat Chandra Srivastava/ No Passport Control, self-released
Besides his solo projects, Delhi-based violinist Sharat Chandra Srivastava is best known for his association with the bands Parikrama and Mrigya. On his latest single ‘No Passport Control’, he teams up with American singer Katja Koren.
The song alternates between jazz-inflected vocal stretches and Hindustani violin solos, with both musicians complementing each other perfectly. The drums, tabla and bass provide a supple back-up.
The composition is marked by well-marked tempo changes and fluent playing. It’s ideal for those who love vocal fusion.
Rating: 8/ 10
Musician’s DigiStage/ Hum Ko Man Ki Shakti Dena, self-released
Composed by Vasant Desai and written by Gulzar in the 1971 film Guddi, Vani Jairam’s ‘Hum Ko Man Ki Shakti Dena’ has been used as a prayer in various schools and institutions. A.R. Rahman earlier rendered it as a tribute to the 2008 Mumbai terror victims.
Now, a group of musicians has got together by recording the song from their individual homes, to instil hope in these trying times. The song utilises violin, sitar, piano, sarod, tabla, percussion and vocals.
The online coordination of the musicians is commendable, and the song delivers an important message. However, the chorus in the original had its own impact, which one misses here.
Rating: 7/ 10
Vishal Mishra/ Aaj Bhi, VYRL Originals
Vishal Mishra’s new song ‘Aaj Bhi’ has a pleasant and melodious tune, with the video focusing on a chance encounter with a past love. The problem is that everything seems to be a bit overdone, whether it’s the vocal expression or the acting.
Mishra is seen playing the piano in an Adnan Sami pose in a lobby, singing the lines, “Teri yaad pe, hai phir ankhon mein kyon namee, kyon main rota hoon aaj bhi”. Ali Zafar and Surbhi Jyoti also appear in this video directed by Gurmmeet Singh.
If it wasn’t for those artificial expressions and forced vocals, this would be fine. The song has a lilt.
Rating: 6/ 10
Kirdaar/ Uljhan, self-released
Mumbai-based indie-rock band Kirdaar comprises students of the True School Of Music. Its new single ‘Uljhan’ is a nice journey into hard rock territory, with stylised guitars and tight rhythms.
With words like “Chal pade hum us jahaan”, the song talks of a spiritual search in a world of chaos. Vocalist Rajat Sharma has the perfect rock throw, and guitarists Ravi Prakash and Sanjay Kumar brim with energy.
Bassist Jordan Machado and drummer Swapnil Dhawale complete the quintet. These guys have potential.
Rating: 8/ 10
Inalab/ Tilikum, self-released
Delhi-based electronica/ experimental act Inalab is the brainchild of Gaurav Balani, who has been associated with Parikrama, Shubha Mudgal and Aditi Singh Sharma. The group has just released the EP titled The Commons, with ‘Tilikum’ as the video song.
‘Tiikum’, written by Balani and Shruti Dhasmana, has a neat build-up, and tight work on synthesisers, flute and drums. The video, directed by Moulik Siddharth, blends animated images and studio shots. The song has a certain energy that’s addictive.
Rating: 8/ 10
Yashraj/ Azaad Hu Mein, self-released
Just 20 years old, rapper Yashraj Mehra has appeared at the Vh1 Supersonic and IIT Mood Indigo festivals. He’s now released his debut EP Azaad Hu Mein, which contains three songs about freedom, rebellion and change.
The title track, done in collaboration with Dropped Out and Anoushka Sivasankar, has a catchy chorus line that goes “Azaad hu mein tum sab ki baaton se, Azaad hu mein mere khud ki yaadon se”.
The song talks of a young person’s desire to be independent. It’s a commendable debut, though one wishes the delivery had a bit more sting.