Saturday, November 28, 2009

The moment

One of the most crowning moments in the intricately drawn (drawn as in wire, not a sketch) history of Jethro Tull is, expectedly, in their self-proclaimed epic. Ian Anderson's answer to critics reading too much into their most famous album, "Aqualung" and calling it a concept album. He supposedly got slightly pissed and decided to give them the biggest and the most single-tracked (heh) concept album, Thick as a Brick.

Thick as a brick is approximately forty four minutes long. It segues into so many musical styles and moods, it's hard to believe the song to be even a minute shorter. In fact, fitting so much into hardly a three quarters of an hour is an achievement in itself.

This moment I speak of comes somewhere at 17 minutes, a minute or two after the song's famous intro has reprised. A sudden glimpse of a melancholy theme, a minor scale later, they break into that tune. That moment. The tune which radiates hope, which is the breaking of light from lament, could not have been better. Perfect execution, just the right character, just the right tone. Barrie Barlow is an arrant wizard at the drums, and the moment seems way too wonderful to just be born out of a long song. It deserves a pedestal of its own.

Maybe it is not the technical genius that lends it the beauty. Maybe it's just the hope. Maybe that's what we look for, and maybe that's what lends most things their beauty.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The lady

He couldn't stop thinking about her.

He was a man of creation. A man who had so many ideas, so many thoughts which he knew would one day revolutionize the way of life. Every moment, he was thinking of how to make things easier and automatically applying his mind. It just came naturally to him. He knew he was a prodigy, but he didn't want the fame. In the moments where he didn't devote his time to his creativity, he often wondered why the rest of the folk didn't see the world the way he did. It was all so beautiful and it seemed everyone blatantly denied it! One thing, he knew for sure - it is the fear of failure that makes people unhappy. This fear manifests itself in quite a few forms, but it is the same fear nonetheless!

After all, being criticized and ostracized was nothing new to him. Every radical idea, he told everyone who would listen, is tossed around and cursed like a murderer left to his fate with an angry mob. And it was not just for his ideas that he was ostracized. In his country, his kind were not treated with kindness. He knew, as he knew many things others didn't, that they would be accepted someday.

As time went by, he because obsessed over his creativity. If he didn't conceptualize something far-reaching for a long time, he would get very restless. His inspiration, uniquely, came from people. He liked walking around the plaza, looking at people and figuring out how their lives could be made better.

It had just been a fleeting moment in one of these walks. He spotted her through the crowd, and actually walked back a few steps - something he never did. She was not your average beauty, but there was this ethereal quality about her. She wasn't your average pretty girl you wanted to get in bed with. You would want to talk to her about life and the universe! A few glances at her and one knew she had it all figured out, like she was almost mocking you!

He asked around in the crowd, as discreetly as he could, about who she was. When he heard the name, he startled in recognition - that last name was impossible to not know! From such a family, how could he not have heard of such a beautiful lady so profound in her thoughts? His mind started going far, far away, trying to comprehend what that look meant. Did she know something the world didn't? That subtle look, that amused glint in her eyes - oh those attentive eyes, how they soaked in every detail of their surroundings!

Leonardo shook his head, and made up his mind to get that mysterious smile out of his head. Whoever had the time to ponder over and paint Lisa Sforza, daughter of the Duke of Milan, when there were machines that flew to be made and holy blood to be protected!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Top songs - 1

This, hopefully, will build up into another series. Songs currently spinning around my head, refusing to leave, and leaving that permanent mark. Songs whose lyrics keep popping up while I'm sitting at Nescafe, or whose solo I would hum inappropriatly loudly even while in the library, and very subconsciously.

TS, I shall name it. I've got this affection to short-formed-series now.

Anyway, here goes.

Mr. Big - Green Tinted Sixties Mind

No, I didn't make it for the Big concert. I did hear another incredibly talented band, Slain from Bangalore, perform it in college recently. The first time I heard the song was them performing it a year ago, at the BITS rock night. It is still a mystery to me why I hadn't explored Mr. Big till that late. The signature happy-jumpy intro and the perfectly fitting soloing by Gilbert, Eric Martin's intense emotion-filled vocals make this song an instant mood-lifter!

Zero - Christmas in July

Another song which became so much better after hearing it live. Yes, I did witness the God of tone, Warren, at I-Rock, and good GOD did he own the concert! Among all the other names that performed that night, Warren stood out like a saviour of good music. It poured that day like there was no tomorrow, and we still stood in the killing rain and heard every note played by the man! Something about this song that makes it in the switch-off-lights-throw-head-back-and-drown category! One of the best guitar instrumentals I've heard by anyone ever, let alone an Indian artist!

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Rainy Day, Dream Away/Still Raining, Still Dreaming

"Rainy Day, Dream Away
Oh let the sun take a holiday!"
Along with his pioneering guitar sounds, Hendrix has never stopped amazing me with his lyrics. The recent showers in Goa drew me to these two songs. The experience of listening to the songs one after the other, over and over again, while the rain pelted down on my window was one of the most memorable ones I've had! Every time it starts raining after that, I can't stop myself from humming those lines now.

The Allman Brothers Band - Whipping Post

Be it that sexy little melody after "Sometimes I feel..." in the song, or the solo, or the haunting bassline running through the song - this one's one of those everlasting ones. One of those that never get old, or you never get bored of. It's the pinnacle of progressive electric blues, what with the 11/8 verse and the 12/8 chorus! And the crowning moment of this song is that 22-minute live epic in the Filmore East tapes. Everything about those 22 minutes exalts pure Blues power!

Grateful Dead - Box of Rain

I had to really think before I typed out the name of this song, mostly because the entire American Beauty album has been one of my favourites ever since the semester began. But what with the weather being at its most beautiful yet (obviously in the middle of tests, when rather than breathing it into my system, I need to sit in the library studying and watch it through glass windows), I thought Box of Rain would be fitting. Not anywhere else have I seen vocal melodies pulled off so perfectly. The lyrics just seem to flow and in the tandem of seemingly disconnected music from three guitars rises a melody so uplifting, so joyful and so comforting! I don't think there's ever gonna be a time when Box of Rain won't get my mood up!

Writing this was way more fun than I thought it would! Hopefully, many more of these!