I spent the whole of Saturday listening to records and CDs. My apartment looks like a bomb hit it. Still, I ended up making quite a nice twangy/swampy/murky/bluesey/theme music type of compilation, one which I did mainly for my friend Kris. I ended up rediscovering a few tracks I had been really big on about five years ago, which was nice. I even recommended a few. My Jack McDuff records (recently received from ebay) turned out to be really pretty cool, although much more straight ahead jazz-pop than lots of the stuff I listen to. One was on Blue Note, the other was on Cadet. Somehow I’d kind of forgotten the Blue Note label existed recently, so obsessed have I been with Cadet. It’s ‘Down Home Style’, and it’s a very accessible and pleasant record. I don’t know what it is though – there’s a bit too much saxophone or something. Something about it stops me from finding it really super cool and makes me call it ‘pleasant’ instead. Ah well…

Bappi Lahiri/R.D.Burman: 'College Girl/Shalimar' (CD; Polygram India; 1977-1978)
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'College Girl' was scored by Bappi Lahiri, and it opens with moody vocal 'Pyar Manag Hai Tumhi se'. It has some cool vibes and guitar in it, but to be honest, at five minutes, it goes on a bit for me. 'College Girl I love you' is entertaining, opening with some weird electronic noises and kicking in with a fierce tabla beat. The vocals are chaotic and echoey. 'Every Body Dance with me' is a pretty groovy vocal 'You you you come on...dance with me...', with a female vocal replying 'I love you/ hold me tight/ oh my darling/ you are so sweet'. The sound quality is not so great though, and the vocals are so echoey that it's hard to hear. 'Please dear Please' is another interesting one - a frantic tabla/wah wah guitar opening is followed by a chaotic vocal with a lot of percussion. Again, for my rather conventional tastes, the track really lasts too long, and the instrumental packages are not long enough. I don't know much about this kind of music though (you guessed that, right?)

'Shalimar' is a much more accessible, westernized soundtrack. It's also helped by the fact that on this CD at least, the sound quality is far better. The 'Title Music' is a very cool, jazzy and funky track, which sounds like it was influenced by the work of Lalo Schifrin. This is followed by the infectiously brilliant (or annoying, depending on what day it is) 'One Two cha cha cha' by Usha Uthup & Chorus. Made famous by its inclusion on the 'Further Inflight Entertainment' compilation a few years ago, this is a super-catchy electro-cha-cha with indian instrumentation - (e.g. sitar, rasping horns). The vocal is rather charming, mostly in English, with some cool wordless scat moments (at one point reprising the disco classic 'That's the way I like it'). The whole soundtrack is really pretty nice, but I'll talk about the other more accessible fusion tracks, since I find it easier to talk about them. 'Baby, Let's dance together' is a really charming and rather funky vocal with some nice flute and a futuristic sounding electric guitar effect. 'Romantic Theme' is a haunting moody piece with guitar, strings and brass (and probably lots of other instruments I don't know the name of as well). The famous and ubiquitous Asha Bosle sings 'Mera Pyar Shalimar', which is a delicate and beautiful theme.

This CD is definitely worth having, and it's interesting to note that CDs seem to be relatively cheap in India - the cover has a maximum price of Rs. 360 (around $7) printed on it, and I was able to pick this up for not much more than $10 in the US.

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