Posted in Movies, Music

Halena …

And as I typed Halena, WordPress tried to correct it to Helena.

If you know the song All rise by Blue or if you get a chance to hear it, you will know the origin of the song June Pona by Harris Jayaraj from the movie Unnale Unnale.

I am not sure if Halena is an extract from a Spanish song, it could very well be, but the tune seems to set in your head. A slow hip hopish romantic duet served Harris style is very catchy and foot tapping. Do listen !

Other songs in the album will probably take a bit of time to catch up on me, but Halena seems to rhyme in fast.

Movie: Iru Mugan by Anand Shankar. I wouldn’t underestimate this movie as Anand Shankar’s Directorial debut Arima Nambi was quite a surprise package, which moved tightly frame to frame till the end.

and it’s Vikram … Who could have missed his one man show in “I”.

Posted in Music

RESMONT

Resmont is a new word and I am definitely sure about it because I see a red underline as I type this blog post using Imagine for Mac. I am a playlist happy music listener. I have a lot of music just like most of us, but I keep improvising on my playlist making. So one day, I went extremely crazy and brought out this wonderful playlist for shuffle listening – RESMONT. I started by creating individual smart playlists in iTunes.

To start with, a top 25 songs of what was recently played from your library and I called it “Recently Played”. Quite a simple playlist that iTunes has by default but it gives a good picture of what you had listen to latest. For example I have “Chithirai Nila” from Kadal, topping this list. Let us call this RE.

Sometimes I skip songs. If I don’t have the mood to listen to a particular song now, I just skip it. But iTunes is clever and it keeps track of how many times I skipped a song. So I created a playlist that will hold Top 25 of my most skipped song. Well what did I know, I had skipped “Hoshwalon” from Sarfarosh for 384 times all time, even though this song is my favorite with a 5 star rating. I had been unconsciously cruel to some great music, looking at this playlist. Let us call this S.

Now, I like some songs a lot and lean towards listening to them while on Computer, on iPods and also on Apple TV. So they get the most played count. Lo behold, a new playlist called Most Played to hold the top 25 most played songs. Let us call this MO.

What you add recently to the library from purchases in iTunes or Flipkart’s Flyte is something you may want to listen to often. I take the top 25 just added and make a playlist “New add”. I recently added a wonderful soundtrack music “The married life” from the Pixar movie UP, bought for 12 rupees from iTunes. Let us call this N.

Finally, to cream up the selection I thought I could create a playlist called Top Rated (default in iTunes with 4 stars and above) with all music with 5 star rating. Seems I had only 2 of them. One is Hoshwalon from Sarfarosh, which is also the most skipped and is beyond my understanding, why a 5 star rating song was skipped so many times. Oh vasantha raja from Neengal kettavai is the other 5 star song. I just seem to be lazy to give star ratings or it is rare for any music to reach 5 star rating from me. Let us call this T.

Simply put all of the above together – RE S MO N T, is a new smart playlist that holds songs from all these 5 playlists. You got the Resmont playlist ready to be copied to your iPod shuffle. I have been listening for more than a week and it has been full of surprises and discovery of music from my own library.

Share your own playlists creation and help the world rejoice in music listening.

Posted in Music, Technology

One Act Play: Techno Wizards of Time

Characters:

Dinesh – Yours Truly.

Dinesh’s Wife.

Marconi – The guy who invented Radio.

J.L Baird – The one who gave us TV.

Time: Late evening on a Summer day.

Place: Dinesh’s Apartment.

It was a relaxing evening, I sipped a cup of tea and parked myself on the couch with Remote control on one hand. I was browsing through the TV channels, finishing up my tea with noises of daughter crashing items in dishwasher and wife asking me to take her away from there.

Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck outside the apartment and two men appeared. The men walked the corridor and disappeared into the entrance as I was watching them from my patio door. Within 2 seconds I heard a knock at my door. A look at the peep hole showed those two men standing outside with one man restlessly standing. I opened the door for them:

Me: “Hi, Can I help you”

Restless man: “Can I use your restroom please? very urgent”

Another man: “Hi, I am Baird, Inventor of Television and he is Marconi Inventor of Radio.”

Me: “Yeah right!”

(TV Background: In a startling turn around of events, Steve Wozniak, the Co Founder of Apple inc, disappeared from his home. He is unreachable on his cell phone and no one knows where he is. He seems to be missing)

Marconi: “Please believe us, I need to pee. Here is a 100 dollars!”

I push the money away and politely ask him to enter in to use the Restroom.

Me: “So How did you guys get here?” I asked Baird.

Baird: “Oh, Marconi came to my home and we hopped in this time machine that he brought and We came straight to your home, since you were the chosen one.”

Baird was pointing me to a Hummer that was parked in front of the building.

Me: “That’s a Hummer!”

Marconi walks out of the restroom as I exclaim that.

Marconi: “I know, It was modified into a time machine by a great computer engineer.”

I was about to ask who was that great computer engineer but Baird bends down and exclaims at my TV.

Baird: “So this is a high definition TV? This looks very sharp. I am glad my concept has come a long way. This is so slim, and whoa that’s a lot of wires in the back”

Me: “Actually there better and bigger TVs, this is just a small one 26 inch, middle of the line”

Marconi interrupts Baird’s curiosity.

Marconi: “We just wanted to travel in time and see how things have advanced. Do you listen to Radio?”

Me: “Not much. I used to, but now I have a huge collection of Music library, so I don’t need a radio. Besides, they just talk too much on the radio before playing any sensible song. I listen to online radio though!”

Baird is still looking around my TV set and admiring the picture quality.

Marconi: “Online Radio? What is that?”

Me: “You see I come from India and the language from where I come from is Tamil. I like to keep tab of a few online Tamil Radios and listen to them once a while. They play random songs without any commercial interruptions.”

Marconi: “How do you listen to it?”

Me: “Well it’s easy really. I go to the site where I have the internet link for the radio and download a little pls file. Usually they call it launch.pls. A Pls file is a continuously streaming playlist file. I then add that file to iTunes on my computer. iTunes is a easy to use Media Juke box. iTunes then syncs the file to my Apple TV in the living room and voila, I can now listen to Internet Radio on my TV”

Marconi: “Radio on TV sounds very interesting! Baird, We are now put together, did you see!”

Baird rises from his squat position, as he finishes up examining the TV.

Baird: “I am thrilled to hear this. My friend Marconi, I can’t believe how times have changed and how people are putting these things to use in various ways.” he turns towards me as he shakes hands with Marconi and pats his shoulder, “So, what radio stations do you listen to?”

Me: “Oh, I love Geethams. They play classic Tamil Ilayaraja songs all day interluded with some new numbers here and there. They are very focused on playing melodious songs, a good day-starter and night-put-to-sleeper.

I like Jore FM a bit, because they play with a request queue and it is interesting to see what people request.

Mudhal FM and Nila FM are also good and play nice songs. Even though I have a lot of songs in my library, Once a while I like to enjoy the randomness and the sense of not knowing what is going to play next. It is exciting and Fun to listen to, especially that I can sit in my living room and do it.”

Marconi: “This is so fun to talk about. I love what you are doing and we are glad that our inventions have been put to great use. We must now take leave. Thank you for your time!”

Marconi and Baird slowly walk towards the door and open it, I stop them for a question.

Me: “Can I ask you who invented your time machine?”

Marconi: “One of the greatest Computer Engineer of your times, Mr. Steven Wozniak, Co founder of Apple Inc. He came to my house a few days back and wanted to tinker with my Radio Invention and in return I got to travel in his time machine into the future! I picked up Baird on the way”

My mouth was open but unable to utter a word in bewilderment. Marconi and Baird looked at me with a smile and waved good bye. I was still trying to come out of bewilderment and said, “Goodbye to you both, It was nice meeting you”

Marconi & Baird: “Nice meeting you too, and oh what is your name?”

Me: “Dinesh!”

Marconi and Baird kept walking away in the pavement towards their time machine.

Marconi: “What? I can’t hear your name”

There was a roaring sound in the background and I was shouting my name as Diiinnnneessshhh. Marconi and Baird hopped onto the Hummer and disappeared in a flash of light towards the sky. I didn’t know if they got my name, but I am now hearing someone yelling my name at me. Then came a huge shake of my shoulders followed by another yelling Diiinnnesssshhhhh.

It was my wife: “You dozed off after you had the tea. Were you dreaming?”

Me (Yawning): “I guess. I dreamed like Mungerilal from Mungerilal ke Haseen Sapne!”

Wife: “You are weird, come down now, dinner is ready!”

We picked our plates and started having dinner as we alternatively fed our daughter from our plates with the music of Ilayaraja from Geetham Radio softly playing in the Background.

It is amazing to see how technology has grown over the years. A Haiku for this realization:

Sound of Radio,

Picture in Television,

Time caused their fusion!

PS: The Haiku that I wrote before are not really Haikus. Haiku is supposed to have 5-7-5 syllables structure and I was doing 3-5-3 for some reason. So it was just Hai, not Haiku. I apologize for this mistake, from now on I will have it in the proper format.

PPS: This is an arbitrarily weird attempt at showing that one can listen to Internet Radio on your TV using Apple TV. Of course I could have simply outlined the steps like a tech blog, but since this was a personal blog I spiced it up by bringing Marconi, Baird, asked Steve Woz to convert a Hummer into Time Machine and reminded myself of the old Doordarshan serial Mungerilal ke Haseen Sapne. I had fun writing this and I hope you enjoyed reading it 🙂

Posted in Music

Color of Wisdom

I love listening to music. Tamil, Hindi, English, Language of the Dolphins anything that sounds good I hear it. I had made a few attempts at learning music. At one time, as a Bored Bachelor in Bangalore (wow, that seems like a nice title of a post!) I attempted learning Guitar. I made through bruises in my fingers and was imagining myself as Slash or Roger Waters while I was not even good at going quickly from a A-Major Chord to C-Major. The Tutor told me that I am useless when it comes to music and I should get married and this was why.

Tutor: What’s this?

Me: Guitar pick.

Tutor: Why is it thick?

Me: The last one I had was thin so it broke easily, that’s why I bought a thicker one.

Tutor: Only Bass Guitarists have the thick ones. You are trying to play an Acoustic.

Me: Really, Sorry I didn’t know that. Who is this Bass Guitarist?

Tutor: A Bass Guitarist is one who … sigh … never mind. For now let’s say you are not the Bass Guitarist, just use this thin pick.

Hence, I stopped learning music and got married. Well, It doesn’t sound exactly like that but me being useless in music learning and the “Thick Pick” incident part is 100% true. Everything else is masala mix.

I made a second attempt with a M-Audio Keystation Keyboard connected to my Mac and tried to learn rolling my fingers on the keyboard with the aid of a Mac software called Garage Band. This time I wanted to learn music the right way by trying to understand the Musical Staff notations. Only, Whenever I saw the staff notation, all I could remember was spaghetti. But Hey, I learnt to play the Happy Birthday song somehow, that is a progress right? Time went on and I didn’t go back to the music lessons and have kept the Keyboard aside hoping my daughter would pick it up and learn to play someday or may be we will learn it together. Otherwise I have to use it as a Surf board.

My learning of music remained ephemeral. Finally, I learnt to play 2 more songs. Row, Row, Row your boat and Twinkle Twinkle on my daughter’s … ahem … Xylophone. This is the relationship between me, music and learning. You can see how dull that is.

But with Garage Band, it is very easy to compose music. Even people like me who have little to no knowledge of music can easily put together the loops of music available in the software and come up with scores that sound good.

Now, Coming to the post ( This is probably one of those post that has 90% introduction blah! and then 10% actual content) I made a Haiku called Color of Wisdom. What color will wisdom be? (no not the Wisdom tooth!).

I found there,

Color of Wisdom,

A Grey Hair!

Sucks right? (Both Haiku and the Grey Hair). So I sat down and used Garage band to come up with a small theme music for this feeling.

I wanted to relate the strings to the (Grey) hair so I used Classic Rock Guitar loops.

You are free to download this music and use it for your personal purpose (Are you sure you want this?). Also, this means that I have a podcast. If you put my feedburner link in iTunes or any other podcast playing software, it should download the music automatically whenever I post a new Music or Video post (I think!).

Have a wonderful weekend! and Have a fantastic long Labour day weekend for those in US.

Posted in Music

Music Review: Sathyam

The last album of Harris Jayaraj that I really liked was from the Kamal Hassan starrer “Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu”. Bheema had a few songs that were really good but others sounded repetitive. After that, I have to say Harris has come up with a likeable set of songs in the new album “Sathyam”, though not anything spectacular.

A peppy foot tapping number that starts with a highly meaningful word “Shabarababam” is sure trying to fish the hearts of the youth. Ada Gada is the song name and I have to say Premji Amaran has done a decent job voicing this song.This song is a Hip hop/Rap Wanna be with usual beats.

Harris Jayaraj was runaway hit when he came up with the song Vaseegara for the movie Minnale. It was fresh and the voice of Bombay Jayashree was mesmerizing. The song Chellame from this album sounds like Vaseegara yet feels fresh, new and youthful.

En anbe is soft and melodious and can put you to sleep. This is the song that I liked most from the album, even though it feels predictable and monotonous.

From the demands of the All India International Federation of Kuthu song fans comes the song Paal Pappali. This song stands out for choosing a unique opener “Paal Pappali” which means Milk Papaya. It begins with beats that sounds like the song “Uran thottathula” from Veyil and goes on with a “Sarakku vachurken” tune from Shah Jahan and sandwiches some “Maduraikku pogathadi” tunes from Azhagiya Tamil Mahan in between. Even though I sorta liked this song in the beginning, I am afraid it might lose its shine and fade away.

Un Udayam is a song for the Hero and this is the song that I didn’t like from the album. It sounds like Oru Mugamo from Bheema and is purely there to praise the character that the Hero is going to play. It doesn’t feel like a theme song, while it could have been.

Harris Jayaraj is good at background score. Movies like Kaaka Kaaka and Minnale had a fantastic background score that moulded greatly with the screenplay. I hope Harris can show some great stuff in the background score for the Movie.

The success of this album will depend on how well the movie does.

Posted in Music

Music Review: Saroja (missing Saaman)

Saroja Saaman Nikalo” was a superhit song last year. My cousin proudly told me that her son is dancing for that song in the School Function, the last time I went to India. It was such a hit song and it reached almost everyone(ok atleast every college) in the state of Tamil Nadu. The team that made the hit movie Chennai 600 028 is back with another one called Saroja without the Saaman and the act of Nikalo. The music for the movie is composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja and I have to say the album is Missing the Saaman (meaning: The Thing, stuff).

Last year when I listened to Chennai 600 028 I was immediately attached to the songs – Jalsa and Yaaro. Jalsa was a fantastic “Hip Hop”ish number and Yaaro was an awesome romantic Duet. After watching the movie I totally understood the importance of the song – Saroja Saaman Nikalo and how much of a significant part it plays in the life of a youth( 🙂 ). The album “Saroja” has nothing like that though. I was hardly attached to any of the songs on the first round of listening. But after listening to it a few times I did start liking a few of the songs.

Dost Bada Dost: This song celebrates friendship with a Soft Kuthu beats (equivalent of Soft Rock, and Yes I made that up). This song has the potential to get College students behind it. It will most probably be the “Mustafa” song of this decade (Remember Mustafa from Kadhal Desam in the late 90’s?). A good foot tapping number.

My Life: The song starts off in a Guns n Roses style guitar and vocals and moves on at the same Pace with some Aqua tunes fused in between. This song is completely out of context for a normal Tamil music Listener but I have to say it is one of the boldest attempts that Yuvan has made. Tanvi sings with an exhilarating tone and flows it beautifully with the guitar. An excellent piece and probably an item number, but who knows.

Cheeky Cheeky: Yuvan has mastered Hip Hop more than any other Indian Music directors (dare I say this?). His Hip hop is more “Hip Hop”ish and raw. Cheeky cheeky is going to win the hearts of the youth and some not so youth like me. It is a great pub song and I can see this being played in Discos and Five star hotels and clubs in Chennai.

What about the other songs in the album you ask? Well, Let’s just say they didn’t stick to me. They sounded mundane. May be you will like those, this is just my opinion and in any case we have to wait and see how the movie turns out to give the final judgement for an album. May be there is a “Saroja Saaman Nikalo” hidden in there.

Until then, I would say Saroja is a 50% Winner.

Updated: Album Link. You can listen to the low quality version there.