(Probably a first for Rahmania, a post on the music of an album that just released. We usually wait for a while to post our thoughts on Rahman’s music. However, we made an exception for Sudharshan’s (@sdhrshn) post on Maryan.)
And so I logged into Twitter one fine morning, to the whole timeline discussing/spoiling the joys of Maryan’s OST, propelling me into the last lap of hunt towards the soundtrack. A wait that was eating into my sleep the previous night, surprisingly ended on a beautiful morning as though Maryan brought it with it. I mean like, how was that possible? Quite a cloudy and cool Trichy in the middle of the Agni Nakshatram season. And one of the city’s best possessions, the Tanjavur highway (that led to my college) felt like some dream way. And then I played Netru Aval Irundhal.
“Aagaayathil Nooru Nilaakalum, Angange neela puraakalum parandhana..”
I knew this was a line that would stick to me for life. So I gave in my best efforts to assimilate all the tiny pulses that went through the first listen. It is at these moments, you understand how fragile the human brain is. Brain vs ARR. The Mozart won hands down. There’s always @ursmusically’s post for you to understand how you would feel while listening to this one.
What I saw though, was this ( of course, in the background of the soaring tremolo strings, and a divine chorus)
How does a goodbye feel musically? A tango between an accordion, a flute, and a ghatam. And there’s Kabilan’s fundamental, but aching lyrics, to which Vijay Prakash and Shwetha Menon do enough justice, and more in the lovely Innum Konjam Neram. But lining all this is that tiny spark between the lady and the lad, a little quirk that isn’t drowned in an overwhelming sense of separation; That’s how seriously the song has been looked at, and shaped up. It’s quite interesting how the most minimal of ARR’s tunes can hold so many layers beneath (or how these ‘invisible’ foundational layers hold strong the skyscrapers of his compositions). One of the more prominent hooks here, is how the string section just plays along the singer’s notes. Simple, but poetic.
Shakthisree Gopalan, is someone I can never thank enough for two songs. The very underrated Jab Tak Hai Jaan, and the much adored Nenjukulle. With Enga Pona Raasa, she blends the fragility, and affection of her earlier songs with an element of pathos that works on another plane that the other two did not. There’s this breath in her voice that makes me dizzy; not to forget how heartbreaking deep voices can be. The beautifully done acoustic arrangements of the first minute, culminate into an impacting tryst between Shakthishree’s divine humming decked over Rahman’s very intricately arranged harmony ft Abhay Jodhpurkar. It’s beautiful how the entire orchestration and the rendition are a phase apart in the harmony. That sends this subtle element of disconnect, her anguish of separation And oh, the song is an absolute heart-ache.
Sonapareeya and Kadal Raasa are identical for the fact that they took more time to settle over me, or like I needed time to move over the first three. On the album’s scale, they’re one down; But there’s so much to look into yet. The brilliant nadaswaram interludes in Kadal Raasa. A seamless cross between African beats and namma ooru dappankoothu. And relatively much likable singing from Yuvan, quite splendid in the first two minutes (after which he attempts to sing high notes in ARR’s scale, botching down the feel). Sonapareeya, I felt Haricharan’s choice here was quite cliched and not as exquisite as Javed Ali’s, which just felt so apt. Killer singing from the man. And delicious use of the violins; an interesting motif with a slight distortion twist and much appreciable when it goes all crying over “Kenjumpadi vekkuriye Sonapareeya.” Only Rahman.
One number that was given step-motherly treatment on album release was Nenje Ezhu, thanks to this single release business. It’s quite an uncomplicated tune. But it compensates for its simplicity with the depth in orchestration and the personalized stories it sings to your mind. There’s this broad wide desert like synthscape, he creates around the song that worms into us subliminally, and as if every touch on the harpeji just sent us deeper into that universe. It starts with just those drums in the beginning, then the guitar enters and then the harpeji, then the chorus section and then a whole orchestral section rises over the scale change; You could close your eyes, lose track of the language and find yourself in the journey of a man biding all his strength from scratch, and struggling to his last breath to rise over his handicap. That’s simply how metaphoric the aural medium could be put to use. And I wouldn’t need Kutty Revathy’s middling lyrics at all here.
I got to admit here I haven’t listened to I love my Africa enough times to write on it. And by next week probably, there’ll be even more backlog coming in the form of Raanjhanaa. Despite that, it’s an amazing feeling when you are already listening to a great Rahman album, and have another one coming in very short time. Rahmaniacs understand this best.