The Firstpost Playlist: Bollywood meets dreamy guitar riffs meets intense notes of the piano

The Firstpost Playlist covers songs on a wide spectrum - from Udta Punjab to Imogen Heap.

FP Staff May 28, 2016 10:12:47 IST
The Firstpost Playlist: Bollywood meets dreamy guitar riffs meets intense notes of the piano

Dauðalogn (Dead Calm) by Sigur Rós

There is a giant canvas — white, pristine and untouched; the sound of plunging distorted guitar and intense notes of the piano guide your hands, a brush, your hair on that canvas, helping you picture whatever it is that you, the listener wants to picture.

Dauðalogn from Sigur Ros' album Valtari is viscous, visceral and oscillates on a spectrum of catharsis and constraint.

Ten years ago, as a 16-year-old, I first heard Njósnavélin (The Nothing Song), it didn't take very long to realise that this is music I would remember for a long time to come. On their website, when they had first launched, they proudly proclaimed, "We are not a band, we are music." And the Icelandic band haven't really strayed from that.

Valtari is a work of art — the makers want to exert no influence on the listener's interpretation of it. If there ever was ephemerality, sangfroid and rumination recorded in a studio — it would be this.

— Vishnupriya Bhandaram

Reise Reise by Rammstein

Every so often a song comes along that sends chills — as opposed to a solitary chill — up your spine, makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and sets off a rash of goosebumps across your skin and such-like.

The title track from Neue Deutsche Härte band Rammstein's fourth album (released in 2004) is one of those.

Right off the bat, the 'call to attention' snares and sounds of seagulls set you up for a sonic journey through the classic Rammstein quadrumvirate: Massive guitar riffs, tight rhythms, atmospheric keyboards and frontman Till Lindemann's deep and commanding voice.

Reise Reise (translated loosely to Arise Arise) is a call-to-arms of sorts to a group of sailors — taken less literally, it could apply to travellers in general — to embark on their respective journeys.

After setting the pace in the first couple of minutes, it's in the second half that the track really soars (and those aforementioned bodily conditions occur), which makes it slightly ironic that the theme of the album centres around the crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123 in 1985.

So what are you waiting for?

— Karan Pradhan

Winter Rose by The Bees (Nicolas Jaar Remix)

"When the summer is fast
The bruise will be slow
That's when I fell in love
With my winter rose

With the monsoon respite from a horrid summer in Mumbai, these above words couldn't be more apt. And how better to commemorate the arrival of the rains with a perfect monsoon song? I'm of the strong opinion that Chilean-American music composer and producer Nicholas Jaar can make any song sound sexy, and The Bees' original Winter Rose is already plenty sexy. It's a slow, unwinding, bass-heavy number best experiences on a day when you can't do much else than just stare at the pouring rain.

— Swetha Ramakrishnan

Chitta Ve from Udta Punjab

This week was one of those where I was stuck with this Desi Rap. Work enables us to meet some really cool people. I got a chance to understand how a rapper and his mind work. Post that, when I heard any rap, I’d be interested in its science more than its melody. Then Chitta Ve came out. A seemingly title track from the movie Udta Punjab, that stars Shahid Kapoor, Diljeet Dosanj, Kareena Kapoor and Alia Bhat. Visuals of the music video are as stunning they can get and beats that make you groove keep you busy tapping your feet.

I was told a song had lyrics which people would pay attention to. I found a not so well known Shellee behind them. I was told Amit Trivedi is back with something that shouts his name out loud. They proved right at every interval and kept listening to the jukebox on loop.

Yes, I am quite delighted by it. If you play close attention, the rap in Chitta Ve does lose the tempo a bit, but then that’s a creative call I’d leave for Amit Trivedi to take.

For now, I’m going back to wanting this movie to release soon.

This is a little of what the rap in the song looks like

Chaddi pehan ke gaaun
Ya phir gaaun nanga
Tu hota hai kaun chuje
Chal teri maa da kangna

— Siddharth Aalambayan

The Listening Chair by Imogen Heap

The song tells the story from the time Imogen was young till about when she was 35. The song is about five minutes long and each minute represents seven years of her life. Her plan is to add a minute to the song every seven years, making it an unending song throughout her life.

Imogen thought of this idea by actually gathering people and having them physically sit on a chair and asking what they would want a song to be about, making her think about herself and what she would want to sing about.

Imogen writes her own music, designs and even produces the music herself. She is a one woman army when it comes to music and that is what makes all her songs so amusing and interesting. She has her own style in terms of the kind of music she creates. She advocates technology and makes music out of everything she can lay her hands on.

Her lyrics are generally personal and that’s what makes you want to know more about her and her idea behind her lyrics and videos.

— Kinjal Vora

Yad Lagla from Sairat

Sairat has come out of nowhere and become the highest grossing Marathi movie ever made. The brainchild of National Award winning filmmaker Nagraj Manjule, Sairat is quite a departure from his previous critically acclaimed movie Fandry. Apart from the clearly well received story line of the movie, the other headliner about this film is its music. National Award winning duo Ajay-Atul are behind the musical compositions. And unlike their previous outings, they have experimented with a symphonic orchestra in terms of musical arrangement. Sairat is the first Indian film with its music recorded at the Sony Scoring Stage in Hollywood, the same studios that recorded the scores for Schindler's List, Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur,among others.

Yad Lagla literally translates to 'Going crazy', and this song is about the protagonist (Parshya) going through the initial rushes of falling in love and anticipating meeting his lady love (Archie). The closest equivalent to this song is Pehla Nasha from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. But that's not really the point, as lyrically it is still difficult for me to understand the Marathi dialect, despite being a Maharashtrian myself.

What has your attention throughout (this is true of all songs in the movie) is the seamless amalgamation of classical Indian instruments with those use by the symphonic orchestra. So you have some baroque musical sections with pronounced violins, cellos and horns leading to flute sections leading to the use of Indian dhols and going back to the symphonies. One half of the music duo — Ajay — has sung the song. The music composition is accompanied by a lovely video shot in scenically pretty rural areas of Maharashtra. So give the Sairat album a listen this weekend. In fact, one of its songs — Zingaat — has already become a party anthem in many parts of the state.

— Nimish Sawant

Chlorine & Wine by Baroness

This song is an oddly effective blend of gory lyrics, dreamy guitar riffs and bellowing vocals. You might be left chanting the catchy, explosive chorus "Please, don't lay me down!". But behind that chant is quite a tragedy. Baroness met with a bus accident while on tour in 2012. Some members even had to leave the band after the accident. The lyrics of the song reflects the deep impact their brush with death has left on them.

The reason I love Baroness is that they've always made sure that they never, in their own words, "fall into any kind of complacency pitfall or formulaic songwriting routine." If you'd need more reasons to love this band the frontman John Baizley has made the beautiful art for this album as well.

— Siddhi Desai

Taro by Alt-J

Released in 2014, this song by English rock group Alt-J has a very upbeat vibe with unique beats and an alternate rhythm. However, what’s lesser known is the story behind the song. Taro is written as a tribute to a photojournalist and her lover who worked extensively to cover the Spanish war. In 1937, Gerda Taro became the first photojournalist to die on the job when a tank collided into the side of a car in which she was travelling. Robert Capa was her love interest and fellow photographer who died in a similar fashion. During the First Indochina War, Capa retreated from his Jeep in a hostile war zone to take pictures. He stepped on a landmine that resulted in his untimely demise. The two were immigrants who fled Nazi Germany to escape prosecution and pursue photojournalism.

The song’s main focus is the reunion of the two lovers in a situation that is similar to the afterlife. Alt-J has gone into great detail in writing the song lyrics. This can be seen in the line, “Left hand grasps what the body grasps not – le photographe est mort.” This is a reference to how Capa died in 1954; when he was being rushed to the hospital, he was still grasping the camera in his hand.

— Aishwarya Ramesh

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