Can You Change Your Tissue Paper Definition? : Clay Play – Motherjane


After a looong gap, Motherjane is back with their new line-up and a killer single. After their lead guitarist (Baiju Dharmajan) and vocalist(Suraj Mani) left, motherjane lost their rhythm guitarist Deepu Sasidharan recently. He is now the managing the new and promising band called Masala Coffee. Kudos to Clyde(Bass) and John(Drums) who have managed to stay together through the hard times; and coming up with something like ‘Clay Play’? Woah! That’s fantastic.

Current Line-up

Vivek Thomas – Vocals
Nithin Vijayanath – Guitar
John Thomas – Drums
Clyde Rozario – Bass Guitar

Music

‘Clay Play’, their new single has lot of difference in sound compared to their previous album. From Progressive Rock to Post Rock does really looks refreshing while retaining the carnatic elements in a more subtle but cool way. Vocals are awesome with all those high octave sustains, but it may take some time for janiacs to adjust to the new singing style and for this particular track, singing along won’t be that easy. Two things I’m so impressed about this track is its mixing and of course mastering. You should listen to this track with a real good headset in HD. Can’t explain the awesomeness that it produce. This track is produced by none other than the mastero: Rex Vijayan. You can easily notice his influence in the track. Another honorable mention goes to John for his terrific effort in drumming. Clyde awesome as always and new guitarist is promising too; looking forward to hearing more from him.

Credits

Produced by – Rex Vijayan
Mixed by – Abin Paul
Mastered by – Joe LaPorta at Sterling Sound, New York
Vocals recorded by Binil Eldhose at NHQ

Video

Clay play video is produced by Papaya media, who are famous for their work in movies like Salt & Pepper, and a lot of other stuff.  Have you visited Cafe Papaya? The video retains the old format of motherjane videos like Broken. This time, showing the life of an IT guy who is struggling with his work and eventually taking that difficult decision to quit and to follow his passion. To be frank, I could totally relate to it.

Credits

Produced by – Papaya Media
Directed by – Abhilash Kumar
DOP – Ajay Menon
Editor & Colourist – Saiju Sreedharan
Art Direction – Elwin Charly
Camera Associates – Viswom Charly, Bilu Tom Mathew, Abdul Rahim
Executive Producer – Harshad Ali
Studio – Studio Papaya

Heard that they are working on their new album. Wish you all the best Motherjane!

Note from the Band on the 19th anniversary

Today marks the 19th anniversary of Motherjane!! It’s been a terrific journey so far.

It’s incredible that what started off in Mithun’s room as a makeshift band has come this far . So many great players came in and went out.So many lessons learned and many yet to be learned..smile emoticon.In this linear time sequence Motherjane would like to thank Mithuns’ father – Mr.Raju who funded our first public gig at Fine Arts Hall,kochi.Always grateful to you,and Mr.Paulson Raphael for sponsoring our very first gig at St.Albert’s college.

In hindsight ,we see everything that happened,actually added to the big picture.As in Rex left the band and started Avial,a legendary act which changed the sound of Indian Rock forever and Mithun is spearheading the new wonder -Thaikudam Bridge , Baiju touring far and wide as a guitar demi god ,Suraj scaling new heights as a Rock Poet , Nirmal David became an award-winning animator,Laji and Shyam along with Mithun going ahead with Pseutopia,Santosh digging it with Arka,Deepu into sessions,Deepak dev composing for Movies,Biju,Sesil and Ravi. All finding their respective spaces and in pursuit of happiness and new ideas..
Great pleasure and gratitude in sharing this collective dream called Motherjane. A big thanks for the fans who stood by us all these years .You are people who inspire us to go ahead…Grateful.

RSI 8/13: TDT – The Depot of Talent


I know I’m late to the party. Not posting that frequently now a days. It is been weeks/months since The Down Troddence, one of my favorite bands in India did a sweep at Rolling Stones Metal Awards, bagging 8 out of 13 awards.

  1. Best Band (Critics’ Choice)
  2. Best Album (Critics’ Choice) – How are you? We are fine thank you.
  3. Best Song (Critics’ Choice) – Nagavalli
  4. Best Band (Popular Choice)
  5. Best Album (Popular Choice)
  6. Best Song (Popular Choice)
  7. Best Guitarist – Varun Raj
  8. Best Artwork – Abhijith VB

I urge everyone who read this to buy their album from oklisten.com. The 199 bucks you spend is worth it. If you want a hard copy you can get it from flipkart.com.

The best thing about the album is the song Nagavalli. There is a killer unofficial video cut by Riaz Hassan. View it below.

  • Spellbinding guitar solo
  • Terrific arrangement.
  • Usage of malahiri raga
  • Breakdown
  • Out of the world artwork of Nagavall
  • Recording and Mixing by Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor

Well, I can go on and on praising this song. It is one of the best tracks India ever produced in my opinion.

nagavalli

The album includes another track called Forgotten Martyrs featuring the “God of Small Strings” himself! (Baiju Dharmajan).Improved versions of their earlier tracks, Death Vanity, ortnIavihS, Shiva are present in the album. Other notable tracks are Hell Within Hell (that wicked carnatic riff) and KFC(breakdowns again).

rollingstones

ulkka

ULKKA! My Background Score Debut


One fine day Sohal, one of my colleagues comes up and asks me “Hope you are okay with doing music for our short film, Its a comedy-romance kind. It will give you exposure as a Music Director!”. Two things came to my mind.

  1. I’m not a music director. There are no people working for me. I’m just an enthusiast. Why did he use that term?
  2. Although I have done some tracks just for sake of fun, I realized it to be no fun when working for a film, but rather an exhaustive and tiring job. Is it really worth doing it again?

I decided to embrace the opportunity without having any idea of what that means to me.

Started out with my iPod as usual using iRig; Did a couple of tracks. It was by that time, I’m buying a Macbook pro, which helped me to fine tune my tracks. It also allowed recording guitar directly from my Digitech RP500 eliminating noise that i get when using iRig. Sohal kept pinging me again and again each and every day until he got what he wanted. Kudos to him.

Another thing that makes this project special for me is one of the tracks I did. This short film contains a scene that I could relate heavily during that time. I wrote two lines of lyrics which was quite insane and started singing it while strumming my guitar on A minor scale. Name of the track is “Where are you” (which is instrumental with guitar lead for obvious reasons) which I hold very close to my heart and is an ode to that person who stood as the reason for all that thought process inside me, who unknowingly(i hope) motivated, and inspired me to be a better human being(Not saying that it changed me!). You can hear it below.

Now, speaking about the short film, it is named “ULKKA” which means meteor and has a tag line “An ulkka is following each one of you”. ULKKA is a journey of Sankaran in pursuit of his love on the last day of the world. It is a satire that showcases what a common man do on the last day.  The movie has already  crossed  50,000+ views on youtube. Watch it below!

Credits

Starring Shabi B Kahar, Rashmi K Nair, Abhimanyu Ramanandan, Rajesh Vijayan, Lalkishore, Somesh S ,Jeemon Joy

Directed By Mohamed Sohal

DOP Adarsh Bhargav

Editor Appu Bhattathiri

Screenplay Abhimanyu Ramanandan

Story Praveen Raj B R

Dialogues Rajesh Vijayan

Music Ragesh Chakadath

Sound Design Shefin Mayan (sound man)

Produced By Vinithchandran R

Hope you liked it.

A Kerala Culture #Fail @Technopark


Techno park, the largest IT park in India. I’m a software engineer working in this green and serene campus. During my early days, one thing that i couldn’t resist but take notice (it happens frequently) is the rubbish done by a company to welcome its clients in the name of Kerala Culture. To be able to point out such a thing I must possess a decent knowledge on Kerala culture. Being from a place known as the cultural capital of Kerala, somewhat gives me the privilege.

Speaking of the welcome ceremony, there will be an elephant so skinny that it can be tied along with the cattle (“yes, that old Malayalam saying”). Besides that, the drummers who perform the “melam?” don’t seem to know what they are doing. I never heard something like that in my place. Something worse than “Shinkari melam” which itself is not considered as a classical form of art. It sounded to me like a combination of dappankutthu and the beats for Pulikkali.

I enjoy various traditional percussion ensembles like “Pacharimelam”, “Pandi Melam”, “Thayambaka” “Panchavadyam” in all its authenticity and to see something foul being served in the name of Kerala Culture felt like an insult.

However, the idea of traditional welcome looks so refreshing when done appropriately in a client perspective. No resorts in here seem to offer such a welcome ceremony. Given the first impression that makes them feel special, it can eventually get some business! But I don’t really like the idea of companies going to any extent to win a business especially in the wrong direction. In my opinion, they should be showcasing their capability instead.

I started this post as a draft 3 years ago. It is sad that it is still continued the way it is.

Auto PNR! What an Idea Sir!


Ticket booking from IRCTC has always been and is still the most addictive multiplayer game India ever produced. Forget tatkal. If somehow you survived the thousands (which infact is more than the website can handle) to get a ticket, problems are not yet over. A good initiative by the indian railways to go green had a tremendous impact as people need to carry only the confirmation SMS. Sadly the information in the SMS is hardly readable as it contains lot of unnecessary info (or it looks like that to me) and it is really difficult to locate the SMS for next train i’m going to board. You may need to remember your seat and coach number. Also, if you are having a ticket that is not confirmed, its not very easy to get the status as the website is not responsive and the UI of current PNR status apps are crappy.

Here is where this gem of an app I found comes in handy. AutoPNR is an android application developed by Abu Sufiyan. It works like a charm with its simple and responsive interface. It simply reads your SMS stack to get the active tickets and displays the details like your PNR number, Seat number, time of departure, train number etc in a neat and clean way. This app actually helped me today to realise that I have booked a wrong ticket for my return this monday. By clicking on the entries you can see the live status of the ticket incase if it is not confirmed.

So no more searching through SMS. Use AutoPNR. You can find the link to the app below.

AutoPNR

A Song for a Team Trip


Yes. This is my first composition. Its a song in Malayalam that starts with “Manjuneer thulli’ with beautiful lyrics by Shiny, my colleague. The two female vocals are by Shiny and Rashmi. It could’ve been a normal team trip that we used to have half-yearly. But this time Sohal came up with an idea of making a song to just “show off” in his own words! I took it a bit seriously I guess. I made three samples using the garage band app in my iPod. Thanks to the iRig that helped me connect to the iPod to record the guitar.

Approach was simple. Select scale – select time signature -> program drums, ->bass -> rhythm guitar. That’s what I primarily did. Out of 3, everyone unanimously chose the third sample. Lyrics was ready by the next day. We tried singing with the sample and by the next day we recorded using the same device, the iRig and a dynamic mic connected to it. The date of trip was so close so it was unthinkable, the idea of going to a studio even though we wanted to record at least the vocals in studio and mix it with the rest. After recording vocals of both Rashmi and shiny mixing was the most tedious job as we didn’t do the recording properly at first place and the only effects to be added is what is available on a guitar amp in garage band so played with reverb and equalizer. By that time I had also added a solo with relatively simple solo and rhythm portions.

We played it during our trip to munnar and the response was in fact good. Check out!

kfc

Emergency for KFC?


Last Saturday (relative) KFC opened a store at Trivandrum city, the first in the city! I didn’t go home that weekend spending it fairly lazily checking Facebook status, and something that I don’t even remember. Fairly a colorless Saturday that was until I saw the twitter status update from Subin “KFC opened at Trivandrum”. I saw the store under construction two three weeks earlier. However I asked him regarding the same. “Heavy rush man! you will have to wait in queue to give order. But, hot girls! a lot of them!” The second sentence did give a spark! Ok, lets go check it out then! Hmm he’s already gone there today!

After some time got a call from Arjun which gave me a perfect opportunity and yes, its 8.30 AM we started from Kazhakkuttom to Trivandrum. As it was the end of the month, the obvious scenario. Asked my roommate Rakesh to transfer some bucks to my account at the expense of a parcel for him, Extra premium petrol for Rs. 200 to ensure smooth journey. It wasn’t fun riding through the wet streets dodging every car that lavishly overtakes through the wrong side and not to mention the risky overtakes with the middle fingers up for the dumb-ass drivers who think they own the road! When we got there the sight left me spell bound. WTF? Is this a frigging movie hall? KFC is literally “house-full”! People pouring in at a higher rate than the ones getting out even at 10 PM in a city where there’s no such thing called night life!

“No options! Lets dig in!” Arjun somehow managed to get in and so did I. About five counters active where each one having 30-40 people in queue.  “You stand in the queue! I’ll find some place to sit and eat!” I had to admit because he’s having better communication skill and such a thing is more useful blocking a table than simply standing patiently! About half an hour in queue and I’m nearly 10 desperate souls away from giving my order?!  Suddenly this one fat guy with that classic innocent expression on his face pushed me lightly with his meaty shoulders and there you are! He’s now in-front of me. “Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” I asked him as I was totally clueless on what’s happening. Innocence vs clueless-ness who’s gonna win? Yep! You guessed it right. His next sentence shocked me! “Sorry! Its an emergency!” A wink after that sentence and I could see the innocent expression is no longer there on his face. When I was about to say “Get the heck out!” I saw a small kid along with him, there was no time to think as the long he stays there the more it becomes his privilege. Finally I let him stay there thinking of that little guy! “Uncle can U order Ice creams too?” WTF? He’s not the fatty’s son! Well, nice and pissed off!  This guy never ended it there. He made lot of problems there at the counter cancelling what he ordered after its given, spilling it all over there and asking for replacement.

Ok, Its over! Now its only 4 people away! Guess what? It happened again! Another one this time a skinny not-so old but slightly grey one with the same innocent-face trying to push in slightly!  “Not this time!” I stopped him! “Sir, the queue ends there” I showed him the end of queue and to my surprise, he politely agreed, said thanks and went back! Damn! I could’ve done that earlier!? F**king emergency!

Rock Bands, Please Stay Away from Technopark!


I would never have written this on an isolated incident. It happens repeatedly in technopark. If you are so proud of being a rock/metal artist, come and have the experience. In SRK’s words ( I know its a little awkward to quote a mainstream artist in a blog on rock music. sorry for that! ) Techies here will “kick the star out of your stardom”. But it is not because of their holier-than-thou attitude and not at all because of your music. It is only because of the sheer underexposure of the crowd here to something called “real music”. Everyone is in the dream world of filmi and pop.

So in some unfortunate circumstance if you have agreed to play a show, What are the things that are awaiting you? This blog is intended to give you an insight to that rather than a useless advice to those poor souls.

The crowd

5-6% metal heads, 15% general music lovers, 40% dunno-whats-going-on-im-leavin kind of people and rest would account to faint hearted-troublesome-attention seekers (pretty weird combination isn’t it?) This is what the crowd is. You can see very little people at the front head-banging perhaps. They will sing along. The second category will sit and listen to you but they are less likely of enjoying it. They will listen to you anyway. The third group will show the signs of discomfort from the moment you start to play something hard and will eventually be out of the venue if you perform more than 5-6 songs. They can enjoy only filmi/pop. They listen to only vocals and it should be clean. Distortion on guitars and heavy drumbeats will piss them off. Very sensitive group of people probably the result of brain dead bollywood or stupid TV serials. The last category can be a menance. They may be drunk and will hurl abuses at you loudly, show antics that even Sreesanth wouldn’t dare to do.

It is not entirely on the crowd’s fault though. The thing is, you got the wrong crowd. Techopark do have a lot of rock fans. But why the heck they aren’t at the venue? How come these filmi dumasses (sorry, but in the view of most metalheads, you are!) are present at a rock concert?

The organizers

Be it any show our organizers are very known for their ironic know-it-all attitude. Following ways, the organizers can make you go nuts!

1. Sound check without sound.

This is something that is happened with chaos when they came to Technopark. The organizer had askedthem to do  sound check until the sound guys arrive! You can read an excellent article by Praveen Stoneage: “When Chaos reigned at Technopark!”. Also, ensure that everything stays there as it is after the sound check. You can read read my account on Avial at Natana. There is an incident mentioned about how Avial’s sound check got affected!

2. Lack of equipment.

I request the concerned people who are likely to do this at technopark to read this eHow article on how to set up the stage for a rock concert There is no rocket science involved. The only thing you do at-least is to show some common sense. ASK the band what they need. Provide what they need. Simple! By the way in Technopark, if you get 2-3 monitor speakers, consider yourselves lucky. Forget the drummer! Here, sound system will be setup keeping a pop singer who sings on karaoke in mind. So ensure everything is setup your way before playing.

3. Getting Sandwiched

Now, this is one thing you must never let happen. If you want to play rock it will be better if there are only rock fans listening to you. In Technopark a rock concert will mostly be followed by a “ganamela” or a “filmi” concert by some pop star(?). Chaos was a victim where a ganamela was followed by their concert. The lead vocalist of Bennett and the band who sounded like Bon Scott of AC/DC did suffer an abrupt end  as the crowd was expecting Bollywood singer Vijay Prakash’s concert which followed! You know what? Size doesn’t matter!

4. Is that what you call music?

Even-though you got raped for performing what you love, the organizers are not gonna show you any mercy. They will judge you like in reality shows and points out lot of mistakes(???) They can even give advice on the playing techniques of your lead guitarist. Beware!

6. Ohh! please stop! we cannot handle the crowd anymore!

This will be a humiliating experience. The organizers asking you to stop the show. If someone didn’t like your performance, they can walk away. If the organizers can’t control some of that 4th category people I told earlier, Why are they conducting such a show at first place?

This blog is not intended to humiliate anybody. I don’t know any of the organizers, performers personally. So, if this post hurt your sentiments, frankly my dears, I don’t give a rat’s ass!

It’s these cards and the movies and the pop songs, they’re to blame for all lies and the heartache, everything. – 500 Days of Summer

Album art - The Crossover

Baiju’s Crossover in June


Baiju Dharmajan the ex-motherjane “God of small strings” has been an ultimate source of inspiration for the guitarist in me. The way he effortlessly incorporates those carnatic elements in to those advanced sweep/legato techniques always amazed me. After his departure from motherjane, he composed three songs in a band called Wrenz united. While some projects like Kashmir are going on an episode of Dewarists in Star World featuring a collaboration of Baiju with Karsh kale and Harigovindan; “sacred science” was a sweet blend of sopana sangeetham.

And the latest information that can be obtained is all about this website: http://baijudharmajan.in. You can hear a mind blowing montage of his upcoming album: “The Crossover” when you take that website. Baiju sir is working with Cochym a management / record label based in London, UK and it seems like that website is hosted by them. Well, beautiful background image you see in the website is now the lock screen image of my office Workstation!

Go to this expressbuzz article and read the full story on the album. There will be tracks called “Cyber Reptile”, “Philia”; There is this one bit in the montage perhaps in the same raga as “maha ganapathim” keerthana which was really captivating and the same will have a great expectation from my side.

All the very best Baiju Sir! Respect!

49-O – The Right to Reject? What a F*cking Joke!


Before reading this post, I reccomend you to take a look at the website called http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org that claims that they have started yet another freedom struggle that could make it to the history text books of next generation. Needless to say, there are a lot of people supporting this; the cleanest and ‘mahatma’ kind of pure minds.

I recently saw a picture sponsored by India against corruption on Facebook that is getting a lot of likes and shares and is spreading across in a viral manner. Its nothing but what I had come across wiki and some forums long ago. It was unfortunately a hoax that is being spread about the Rule 49-O in The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961. The poster shows some people standing with their voter ID cards saying “We were disappointed, but we didn’t stay home!”. The poster apparently suggests doing 49-O in-order to give a strong message to political parties that one vote for nobody. Now, look at the quotes below.

The apparent purpose of this section is to prevent the election fraud or the misuse of votes.

A hoax has been circulating which claims that if the ’49-O’ votes more than those of the winning candidate, then that poll will be canceled and will have to be re-polled. Furthermore, it claims that the contestants will be banned and they cannot contest the re-polling for their lifetime. This is false and has no basis whatsoever.

Yes, it is from Wikipedia. So, what strong message are you planning to give to the political parties? Using 49-O is little better than sitting in your home not voting. It conveys only one message. You are not interested in democracy! If you don’t vote, you are not participating in democracy and hence you allow inappropriate leaders to serve you. Then comes the self-righteous good-for-nothing statement called “They are all corrupt, there is no point in voting!”. Seriously? I don’t want to say that there are perfect leaders to vote for. But there is something that people need to do for democracy to work. They need to select the best leader that they think would be appropriate even though that is from a bad lot irrespective of flag color. If you think about it you can understand that more than any gimmicks this is the strongest statement one could give and in the long run we will have better leaders.

Now, the story doesn’t end here. For all those people who say the leaders are corrupt, have you ever managed to ask that to yourself? If your answer is no, you must go through this interesting blog by vadakkus to know how are we corrupt and what went wrong in the anti-corruption movement. So, a plea to those pure souls: in this sorry state of affairs, why don’t you show an example to all those corrupt ones by contesting in election, winning and having a corruption-free political career? Not interested?

The very purpose of an election is that the representatives should be chosen by the people. Encouraging people not to express their preferred candidate goes against the intended purpose.

Also read: India’s Middle Class Revolutionaries

Slingshot


A perfect blend of funk and folk I would say. This band called slingshot which was formed in 2006 hails from Calicut aka Kozhikode, a northern district of Kerala. They were the winners of the first edition of Kingfisher Kerala Rocks. Slingshot recorded its first album ‘Half-Naked’ which was unofficially released in the Great Indian Octoberfest. The genre of rock music which the band plays is‘Folk influenced Sex-Funk rock’. ‘Country liquor’ is their first song which is more of funk rather than folk. but ‘way back home’ which is my favorite has a folk touch every where from riffs to drum beats, sprinkled with funk. The band’s lineup is as follows.

Jhanu on guitar, Fadal on vocals, Kaushik on bass and Vineet on drums. So they are a 4 piece band. No idea on how they manage to play songs like country liquor live without a rhythm guitarist.There are less of such face-melting solos in those two songs. Also in ‘way back home’, we can hear that there’s only bass backing while playing lead. So probably Jhanu shifts between rhythm and lead. ‘zaara’ has little Indian folk in it but awesome stuff on acoustic guitar and bass.

You can download all their songs from their reverbnation profile.

Ettam Pattu Unplugged Cover!


I hope everyone know the band called Avial. Ettam pattu or “8th song” in English as the name implies is the 8th song of their self titled album. This is my favorite song as it is a slow folksy ballad which carries a taste of rural Kerala as well as impeccable melody.

Arjun and me met at Technopark when he saw me carrying a guitar with me. We got acquainted, jammed and became good friends. Needless to say he is an awesome guitarist, he mostly plays metal and some awesome acoustic stuff too. As I was studying classical guitar. I couldn’t resist but learn how to play this song from him.

Last week his cousin Sanchay had come to his place. He is a good vocalist trained in carnatic music. So we recorded this cover with me and Arjun on guitars, Sanchay on Vocals.  Here is the video, its our first such attempt. Hope everyone likes it.