Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Music and VideoGames.

Day before yesterday, I attended the Play! A Video Game Symphony concert.

When I first heard about this, I was surprised. I couldn’t link VideoGame music to symphony. Just didn’t fit. But the more I thought about it, I realised that music was an integral part of most great games. And there are so many really amazing peices of music in games, for eg. Zelda, Final Fantasy Series, Warcraft 3, Age of Empires, Civilizations…

Not only PC games, console games as well and even old school stuff. Who can forget the SuperMarioBros tune? It’s classic, and I can never get bored of it. It is amazing what people composed with the technological limitations of old hand held game consoles. It’s also really great to see people still listening and ‘using’ that music in these days… For example the Nintendo Acapella, is such a classic…

Anyway, so the concert was not that amazing. The orchestra seemed pretty noob. And the videos being showed on the screen were even more noob. They should show like Mario SpeedRuns and stuff, not some noob jumping right in front of the Goombas. They also kept showing facial close ups of the orchestra members. That was really funny.. :p

But, it was great going back to the world of VideoGames after many days.. Recently, the only game I have ever played is UT2K4 to relieve some stress.. :p



This track is stuck in my head. But I can’t seem find the official lyrics anywhere..

It’s 136 by MIDIval Punditz

Can someone help fill in the ******. Please!

NY to Durai Come in, come in, come in …
NY to Durai Come in, come in, come in…

Traitors Munda, ***** Kali-style Gunda
My friend, the new sound of the taars
Premier beats, TK vibes past ancient fortresses
************************** Gods

It’s all good, Delhi, UK, NY, Bombay
Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya He
Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya He
Ajay, hold it up.
I-N-D-I-A come forth meet us
************************** us

Doesnt matter what they say, life is a Geeta
**** Everyday…
Superduper five star, AC underlord
Choti-bai’s favaourite jooda bhaisan carom board

Tell me one day there is a strike
**** Expanding what is this like

From the Kutub-minar to the straits of Malabar,
we stay singular, we remain similar
********* looking for the stars
While gandha baccha rockstar, mashing it up to the urban outskirts

Psychological smashing towards ****************
My heart *******
*********** Pushkar to Goa
High Cast, Low cast, we know your past.
From the Aryan invasion to the WTC bomb blasts…

Our scene gets recreated,
Reincarnate, updated
We are glad you made it

The future’s ancient
The dawn breaks orange
The peacock sings
And Delhi, still swings

NUS Arts Festival. A round up.

I managed to catch month of the events under the NUS Arts fest. And here is a review of all the events which I attended.

Press Play by EML.

Apart from the little ‘adventure’ I had while getting the tickets at the door, it was a really fun evening. The theme of the day was machines, and they approached it in a chronological order.

Starting with ‘old machines’. These were mostly peices influenced by old school synthesied sounds like 8bit sounds from old Nintendo games or other classics like Contra. There were some really interestingly videos along with the sounds.

They followed with comtemporary stuff, including making sounds with vaccum cleaners and other interesting devices. Finally, they played some futuristic pieces, which had various flavours.

While it was not amazing or surprising, I was satisfied to get what I expected at EML. There were many interesting toys they used to create the sounds including a couple of Kaoss Pads and a GameBoy sequencer and lots of midi controllers.

Spectral Spaces by Kim Cascone.

This was a very hardcore computer music event. Kim played 2 live peices on him Mac. They were basically created in his own software based on MAX/MSP. The cool part of it was that the sounds which he used to create his peices were randomly selected from his huge library of random sounds. He then used a simple Trim-pot based controller and some buttons on his Mac to controll the sound.

His idea was similar to something they have in Indian Classical music. There is “freedom in discipline”. He’s free to express himself but his discpline is the sound which his program had selected. It brought about some interesting sounds, some melodic, others just noise. I was surprised that I was very much attracted to the melodic sounds.

Kim also conducted a 3-day workshop where the participants played with various sounds and at the end presented an interactive peice, which I must say was very well done. I should really be going for such events. :(

An Interactive Visual Art Concert.

This was basically a project by the Mixed Reality Lab, in NUS. The idea was that the movements and sounds of a triplet playing Er-Hu, Cello and Piano were sensed and used to create graphics.

While the music was interesting, I was unable to link the music and the vizualizations. I started thinking about mental models and intuitive controls. I though that the mapping between the sound and the graphics was not very intuitive. It did not conform easily with my mental models.

But then again, it was a good try. Some of the people in the team were undergraduates doing their FYP. I am sure it was a fulfilling experience.

It was interesting to see them use MAX/MSP on a Mac to grab all the control data from the sensors and the sounds, and pass it over to another computer to render or control the video. This was done over ethernet.

Hmm.. possible usage scenario for OSC??

Electric Sitar and a Robotic Tabla!

Let’s start form the basics. Sitar and Tabla are both Indian musical instruments, widely used in Indian Classical Music. So what has Electronicsand Robotics has got to do with it?


Yesterday, I attended a concert by Ajay Kapur. It was a part of the NUS Arts Fest. It was not quite a typical Indian Classical Music concert, though it involved a Sitar and a ‘Tabla‘.

Ajay Kapur, the composer, the performer, the engineer, has wired up his Sitar to make it electric! And to make sure he always has his rhythms to jam along, he created a robotic drummer (Tabla).

Nope, this is not your electric guitar and a copy of Garage Band. His setup was much more complex, though it did involve a Mac. The idea was to have an interactive drummer, which was mechanical/robotic. Basically drum sticks activated by solenoids.

While the setup and the control of the Tabla using the Sitar, was a really interesting part of the concert, especially with my personal dabbling in it, what really caught my attention was the use of electronics and computers with Indian Classical Music. Not that it has not been done before, but his approach to it indicated that it is progressing to newer levels and allowing space for more expression.

Music, I believe is nothing more than a form of expression. Various kinds of music allow musicians to express different things. Newer and novel methods of music composition or performance allow newer forms of expression.

Now, I should really get back to working on my OSC implementation.

Concert Craziness…

Concerts, concerts, concerts!

So it’s the 1st quarter agian, and time to go concert crazy again like last year..

I must say that NUS Arts Festival is really great. I think there are a lot of new and interesting artsist to be heard here. And furthermore, it’s cheap, hence my excitement.

Personally,  the concert mania start on this Sunday. Here is the line up.

Sunday 11th Feb – Private Concert featuring my mom!! (Indian Semi/Classical)

Monday 12th Feb – Sur-Laya Samvaad – A Musical Conversation by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma & Ustad Zakir Hussain (Indian Classical)

Friday 2nd Mar – SpectralSpace by Kim Cascone (New Media)

Friday 2nd Mar – Bushmen Live! by Bushmen (Reggae)

Sunday 4th Mar –  Broken River and Beyond by Tim O’Dwyer Trio (Jazz)

Sunday 11th Mar – Digital Sankirna by Ajay Kapur  (Fusion?)

Monday 12th Mar – Stellar Regions: Tribute to John Coltrane by Tim O’Dwyer Trio  (Jazz)

Friday 16th Mar –  Harp On with Katryna Tan (Classical)

Friday 16th Mar –  The Mathematics in Music: A Performance, Computer Demonstration and Conversation with Elaine Chew (Classical + New Media)

Friday 16th Mar – Press Play 2007 by NUS Electronic Music Lab (Electronica)

Friday 23rd Mar – Hear the Art… watch the music… An Interactive Visual Art Concert (New Media)

And there are so many more. I also wanna go for some of the workshops which are part of the NUS Arts Festival, and possibly more concerts. But it will all depend on how time permits. I am surely going for the 1st one and I already have the tickets for the 2nd one.

Any other recomendations?

On Air..

I am searching for a track from Midival Punditz. Well it’s not really their track, it’s by a Swedish group called Son Kite. I have never heard of them, but it seems that they are pretty big in the ethnic+trance type of music. So the Punditz have remixed one of their tracks called On Air.

I heard it on the Punditz website, and now I am totally obesssed. Check it out here. It’s the first track in the playlist. But it’s only like half of the track. :( I want the whole track. And I dun mind buying the CD!

Do you know where I can find it?? Please tell me….

Bageshree.. A review.

Always wanted to post this. But never got myself to post. Sigh..

I wanted to do a review for this album, but always felt that I needed more time with it. Today, I feel I have listened enough number of times to let it have its effect on me…

Deewana. Nice track, starts a little fast for the 1st track on an album, but i guess its just me. Has another version later that I personally prefer. Oh and its in Hindi.

O Meherebaan. One of the better tracks. Nice synth sitar, and base. Raag Jog shows very nicely in the aalaps. Has a nice beat to it as well, I think there some synth Tabla. I guess the sitar, jog and the aalaaps with the western packaging kinda make me like it. This is in Hindi as well

Yours Eternally. Another nice track, in English this time. Its raag based, but I cant seem to indetify the raag. Sounds a little a popish and little countrish. But has nice zhanj and tabla in the background. There are some good vocal in the background at the end. Interesting lyrics I must add.

Bhakti. This is one interesting track. Starts with some chanting in the background, and chruch organ and temple bells, and then OM!! Some lady’s speech in the background, and then leads into the main track. A lot of synth, with tabla, and vocals by Bageshree and some other guy. Nice sitar peice in the middle..sounds a little synth to me or probably FXed. Interesting lyrics.

Thinking of You. Starts with sitar again..which sounds the same as the other songs. Not very natural…but goes nicely with the rest. The song itself is ok.. lovely base in some places. There also a version in Hindi, which I prefer.

Mai Kya Janu. My favourite in the album. Its a cover of the really really old K.L.Sehgal classic. But this is so much better. Nicely pacakaged, and yet brings the old mood through. Love the taan she takes on 2nd ‘kya’. Sung really well. A tad too short for me.

Deewana (Ambient Mix). Another version of Deewana. Much nicer, although its the same. Starts softly and is more subtle over all. More Sitar peices here with some ‘kathak bols’..all nicely pacakaged.

Same Game, Different Guy. Very Popish song. Interesting lyrics, in English this time. Least impressive.

Ishq. This is the Hindi version of Thinking of You. Much better. Though its the same in the tune and packgaging, she sings this one better. Just the way she sings ‘Khabar’ is so much better. Noticed a lot of interesting layers in this one. Really nicely done..

My God. This is another wierd song. There is poetry by Bageshree, and a bhajan in Bairavi by her father and really nice Sitar. I am no poet, so I find the poetry annoying.. but the bhajan is amazing. Really brings out the Bairavi.. This is the 1st time in the album, where the Sitar sounds ‘normal’ and that too really well played.

Overall, this album is definately worth a look, especially if you are into newer type of musical. You need to approach it with an open mind, its different in many ways. But you’ll grow to like it. I did.. And I wait for Bageshree’s next album….

The search…

I am looking for a portable media player. Here are my requirements…

  • At least 2-4GB in flash.
  • Capable of playing WMA, MP3 and video (trans-coded is fine).
  • Around 3hrs of video playback.
  • At least 2.5″ full colour display.
  • Good UI.
  • Proper warranty.
  • Around S$350

Can’t find any.. Any recomendation? Need to buy before my Shure E2Cs ship in.. :D

WOMAD – A review

If you have met me in the past 3 days, or seen my MSN nick, you probabaly know how this is gonna start!! :p

WOMAD was amazing!! I am very sure all who were there would agree. Just like last year, it absolutely rocked! I guess there are three things which make WOMAD such a great event. The atmosphere, the music and the spirit of WOMAD.

The atmosphere was really nice. No rain!!. Both the evenings were really beautiful and cool! Everybody had come with the intention of having a picnic while listening to some great music. Though I really wonder why there are always so many ang mohs for such concerts in Singapore. Not that I mind, actually it more fun with ang mohs since they are generally chatty and I ended up striking conversations with quite a few.

Also, very incidentally this year, I met so many people there. As usual many people had said they would come, but I did not expect many to actually come down. But all of them came down, and so did many more. It was really nice to meet so many people in one evening.

The music of course was great. There were so many genres of music that were played throughout the two days that I can’t even remember everything. There was latin music, reggae, ska, jazz, soul, funk…. Not to forget the various types of ethnic music. I feel that WOMAD has opened my perspective to so many different forms of music and through that, to different cultures of the world!

Saturday was the more ‘action-packed’. Started with amazing Korean drumming, went on to some serious reggae/ska. Then took a turn for a short burst of some great latino. But the highlight of the day was surely the clubset at the end. Those who left early (hehe … :P) really missed the best part of WOMAD.

The clubset was originally planned for Risenga Makondo (from North of South Africa) with DJ Adrian (Rojak-Boy). But soon enough they invited Stevie and Jamie Goldsmith (Australian aboriginal artists) and the Musafir Gypsies of Rajasthan (from India!) to jam with them. The session was absolutely unrehearsed, and totally improvised. But that was best part. I have never seen this much energy in the artists or the crowd at a live concert before. People went absolutely crazy. And I was among the first few!!! Of course my love of ‘fusionist‘ music did help a lot. That was possibly the craziest it (and I) ever got….

Sunday was more relaxed. There was some really nice jazz saxophone at the start…The Thai band T-Bone had some interesting sounds, with ska, reggae and rockn’roll…There was not much of a crowd.. And the finale was really nice. It played on the same idea as the clubset, but with a lot more artists. But this time they did not match up as nicely as the clubset…

The final point was the spirit. I felt that WOMAD personifies our interest in other cultures and other people of the world. All artists sang songs of peace and love. That was a spirit of the concert. It was about understanding each other and appreciating what others have. The jamming sessions showed that people from different backgrounds can work together to produce something great, something amazing. People don’t need much to do this, just the drive to really understand one another and make a better world!.

Viva l’WOMAD..

WOMAD Singapore 2006

Just 2 weeks left before WOMAD starts…

The list of artists and the timings of all the performances is also out. Check out the WOMAD Singapore Website.

The wesbite is in flash and slow. So to help those with slower internet connections, I have made a pdf of all the performance timings. You can download it here(Sorry I don’t any have webspace currently, so I have to use stuff like this.. :( )

Ofcourse you will have to go back to the website for other stuff like details about the artists and other information.

I should be going on 2 of the 3 days. I have not decided on which two yet though. Friday looks good as they have the Musafir Gypsies of Rajasthan; Saturday starts with Stevie Goldsmith’s performance; Sunday is the Finale. :S

Who else is going for WOMAD?? Leave a comment..:p