Thursday, January 28, 2010

The music of Karthik Calling Karthik

There are several reasons the music of the upcoming Farhan Akhtar-Deepika Padukone starrer Karthik Calling Karthik is very interesting to listen to.

The music of KCK is diverse. You'll hear all kinds of different but neighboring genres integrated to sound seamless - which comes from the composer's diverse influences.

Its emblematic of the new sound that so many new wave Bollywood directors desire - smart, urban, contemporary. It's not just enough to create hits anymore, composers have to deliver feel and popularity in a single package.

Charged with creating a trendy set of songs after a script hearing, composers Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy settled down for a bunch of jam sessions. A month later, they had this whip smart soundtrack.

KCK's flagship single is a song about a budding romance called Hey Ya! Unlike on Wake Up Sid where Clinton Cerejo's scratch vocals were retained on the massive hit Kya Karoon - this time Clinton's vocals were laid down for the final song. Hey Ya! is a frothy electropop track. Several times Clinton breaks out into a neo-soul alto, but only slightly so, keeping the song squarely in pop territory.

KK sings a ballad about a life transformed by love called Jaane Ye Kya Hua - a song that is allowed to breathe and develop amidst a meandering melody. Jaane starts like a power ballad, settles into an easy groove and gets its soul from a harmonica and KK's bravura singing.

Shankar Mahadevan opens the title track and hands it off to Suraj Jagan who sings it in low slung notes. KCK is a trippy, psychedelic song which gets its mojo from several deliciously conceived backup vocal bits by Suraj himself, Caralisa Montiero and Malika Singh.

Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale collaborate to deliver the instrumental Karthik 2.0. Tasked to compose the background music for the movie, Punditz and Kale realized they had a theme on their hands while scoring one of the scenes. Thus born spontaneously and added to the CD, K2.0 has speed metal guitars styled with electronica. It sounds terrific. Several times the Punditz will break the song down and incorporate KCK's signature phone dial tones into the music. There is some generic pacing with violins at the end, but its rousing and its absolutely forgiven given the other surprises on the track.

There are other interesting songs on KCK that you should explore. A more trademark SEL style - hindustani vocals over a dance beat - is put on high octane on Uff Teri Ada. SEL labored over this song the longest and paired Shankar Mahadevan with Loy's daughter Alyssa Mendonsa who makes a delicious debut. Kailash Kher does a stellar job on Kaisi Hai Yeh Udaasi which has a nifty melody driven by the interplay between a flute and guitar.

Ehsaan, Punditz, thanks for sharing your notes with me!

20 comments:

Deep said...

i love sel. not in love with farhan. dig deepika. love your reviews.

i'm in.

Back from Foggy Dilli said...

Same here !

musical said...

Thanks for the review, Aspi! Gotta' give this one a listen soon.

Mind Rush said...

Great in depth review--packed to the brim with interesting stuff!

But one question since you thanked the musician...do they give you a canned write up or do you write this all from scratch??

Aspi said...

My pleasure doing this, all.

Mind Rush, good question: I ask specific questions to any composer who will respond to me. I usually ask them questions about the theme and feel they were looking for because I think we need to keep that in mind when writing a review. I'm not interesting in reviewing individual songs any more.

They give me some info here and there which I use in the review.

Most composers are super nice - they are more than willing to talk about their work and give me some idea of what they were shooting for. The rest of the eval is up to me. But in general, since I write about music I like I don't have a problem with asking a composer about their music and then going on to trash it :) I'm a coward with no integrity that way.

Anonymous said...

how come Farhan Akhtar not singing in this one?

Aspi said...

Good question: Farhan wasn't required to sing in KCK. He was supposed to do a song for a specific situation but that scene got scrapped.

Anonymous said...

please write about Amaya Datye's fight with Himesh...was it all fake?

Stuti said...

hey.. there was this song towards the end of the movie, as in the scenes when he's eating those tablets.. it's sung by a female.. but i don't know why it is not included in the album! can u tell me what song it is n if i could find it somewhere on the internet?

Aspi said...

Stuti, haven't seen it but if I do over the weekend will try to figure it out.

Abhishek P.U said...

hey yea tat song in d end as stuti mentioned is also really gud...wanted to knw which song it was..pls pls help..

Aspi said...

Still checking. It wasn't recorded by Shankar Ehsaan Loy it seems.

buzzingstreet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JSincro said...

Loved the song in the end sung by a female!

Please let me know where I can find it!

It has a very deep touching rhythm to it!

JSincro said...

Loved the song in the end sung by a female!

Please let me know where I can find it!

It has a very deep touching rhythm to it!

Ashim Sahni said...

Ya apparently it isnt there anywhere on the net.. sm ppl hav put these posts on many forums abt that song, but i dont know why it wasnt included in the album..!! i personally thought that one was the best song..

JSincro said...

I agree with u completely!

Tht ws d song tht remained with me after I left d theater n long after!

Aspi said...

I just can't seem to find out who did it. The background scorers don't know and the song composers don't know. So who put that song in?!

Stuti said...

that's so weird!! why can no one find that amazing song?! X-(

Anonymous said...

really amazing song at the end by the female