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Latest Independent releases- Reviewed

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Mithoon ft. Arijit Singh and Asees Kaur/ Intezaar, VYRL Originals

Probably the most hyped and marketed song of the year, ‘Intezaar’ features music director Mithoon and singers Arijit Singh and Asees Kaur. It’s a pleasant and romantic ballad, and Mithoon does a neat job here.

The problem is that the singing seems artificial and forced. Arijit has started sounding predictable on his love songs and on two occasions pronounces the word as ‘ill-tezaar’. Asees sings only two lines (wonder why so much buzz is being created for that), and one can actually hear her exhale.

Arif Khan’s video features the pretty Sanaya Irani and the perpetually angry-looking Gurmeet Chaudhary. Amitabh Bachchan, watch out. All in all, a pleasant song which required lots of fine-tuning.

Rating: 7/ 10

Lucky Ali and Eliezer Cohen Botzer/ On My Way, Eliali

Ever since he released his debut Sunoh In 1996, Lucky Ali has had a devoted following. Though he’s been doing live shows regularly of late, he has cut down on new recordings.
‘On My Way’, a recent collaboration with Israeli singer Eliezer Cohen Botzer, thus comes as a welcome surprise. It’s a peppy and infectious tune with a sing-along feel, blending the quest of travel and self-discovery with the longing for home.
Lucky has never been strong on technique but makes up with soul and simplicity. Aided by lively orchestration, he and Botzer collaborate perfectly. This is the first single from their forthcoming album Lemalla. We’re looking forward to the others.

Rating: 9/ 10

Sudeep Banerji and Amrita Chatterjee/ Yeh Na Thi, Hungama

Mirza Ghalib’s popular ghazal Yeh Na Thi Hamari Qismat has been presented by many singers, including Begum Akhtar, Jagjit and Chitra Singh, Suraiya and Abida Parveen.
Sudeep Banerji and Amrita Chatterjee featured it in their album Ghaliban.
They have now released a simple video of the song. While Banerji has worked on the music, he and Chatterjee sing it rather smoothly. The arrangements and structuring are reminiscent of the Lata Mangeshkar-Jagjit Singh album Sajda.
However, Vishal Bhardwaj’s spoken recitation at the beginning and in the middle sounds monotonous and interrupts the flow. The end result would have been much better without that.

Rating: 7/ 10

Abhijith P.S. Nair and Santosh Mohan/ Sa Ma Ga Pa, self-released

A few months ago, the group Namo Fusion combined Dr Narayan Raman’s violin and Sarosh Izedyar’s guitar on the fantastic album Namo. Now, Abhijith P.S. Nair and Sandeep Mohan of Eklavya use the same combination on ‘Sa Ma Ga Pa’.
The Indo-jazz fusion piece, which also features bassist Mohini Dey and renowned drummer Simon Phillips, is an absolute delight. The opening violin solo, the electric guitar interlude and the concluding drum solo are the highlights.
The best thing is that this tune lays emphasis on melody and feel rather than technical wizardry and gimmickry. Therein lies its beauty.

Rating: 9/ 10

By Chance/ Time, self-released

By Chance is the latest brainchild of Rohan Solomon, known as the frontman of Delhi alternative rock outfit Cyanide. Its new song ‘Time’ is the concluding part of a trilogy dedicated to preserving the environment.
The number has a typical 1990s alternative feel, and Solomon’s pipes create the right impact. The guitar backs the composition smoothly, and the solo towards the end is dazzling.
The trilogy’s earlier songs ‘Blue Sky’ and ‘Hard To Breathe’ talked of how the environmental situation has changed. ‘Time’ talks of taking action, something very necessary today.

Rating: 8/ 10

Malangs/ Malanga, Bluenote Productions

The term ‘malang’ refers to Sufis hailing from Iran and Afghanistan. And in keeping with their name, the Malangs render a good brand of Sufi-pop-rock on this song titled ‘Malanga’.
What strikes you most is the controlled vocals by Umashankar Kathak and Farid Ahmed who blend the straighter passages with classical nuances. The chorus “Dam Ali maula, Ali maula, Ali Ali” lend a sing-along feel.
Surendra Singh Rathore’s video, partly shot in an office, a concert set-up and green fields, goes well with the theme. It’s a catchy song, though one shouldn’t confuse these musicians with Pune-based Malang The Band.

Rating: 8/ 10

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Narendra Kusnur

Author: Narendra Kusnur

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