Music and technology - highs and lows

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  ravinat on Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:24 am

Whether we like it or not, somehow, we have come to associate ARR with technology related to music. 

Like most popular opinions this is a superficial one and ARR is a decent musician as well. More importantly, though he is perceived as someone who benefited by his focus on technology, this series of posts will trace how music and technology have been strange bedfellows and how our MDs have knowingly or unknowingly rose and fell with technology in TFM history.

Suresh's MSV series made me think on these lines and so many thanks to him. Hope, we have a good discussion on this topic.

My very first Tamil article was on the impact of digital music in 2009: http://solvanam.com/?p=5490

In this series, we will not limit ourselves to digital format alone.

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  ravinat on Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:30 am

The 50s and the early age of cinema
-----------------------------------------

Talkies were new to India and most of the films in this time frame were B&W apart from the fact that they were filled with classical music. The arc lamp driven celluloid film and the synchronized audio running at 24 frames a second was a wonder that most people rushed to the theater. 

Most of the musicians of the 50s including the SVV, Subbaraman and other of this age used analog recording on a mono track and film was the only place they could enjoy such music.  Not sure if vacuum tube amplifiers, speakers and gramophones were popular in this decade. As this medium was new, the general viewing/hearing public had no idea who was singing and who was a composer and what orchestration meant.

The 60s would give way to a new technology that the new MDs would take advantage of.

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  ravinat on Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:35 am

The 60s and the age of the radio


MSV may be a great composer and Kannadasan may be a great lyricist. It is the radio which carried their work to the listening public beyond the film format of the 50s. While the rich could afford the gramophone record, ordinary people could hear popular music through radio. It started off with vacuum tubes and slowly moved to transistor radios. MSV, KVM were not called the ARR of those days, but indirectly benefited from this new technology.

The home spool audio tape was messy and had a short shelf life. Everything was analog and mono in this decade as the previous one, though there was a great deal of reach through public broadcasting. In a way, MSV was lucky that his talent reached millions because of vacuum tube and transistor radios.

Little would MSV and his generation of MDs know about the onslaught of another new technology that would benefit another generation of MDs int he 70s.

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  app_engine on Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:49 am

Ravi sir,

Interesting thread Smile

BTW, one funny thing :

The following two links show that there had been broadcasting in India / Ceylon from 20's :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akashvani_(radio_broadcaster)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Ceylon

That the TF industry of 50's couldn't have much use of it is quite surprising.

I know our people were generally careful in getting into tech in the "independent India" (i.e. from 1947 to late-80's was quite a tougher regime w.r.t imports of any kind, including technology).  இருந்தாலும் அதற்காக இப்படியா?

From that kind of a situation, what a change in the new millennium! 

Any new consumer stuff that gets released worldwide is immediately getting sold in the sub-continent, including India!

app_engine

Posts : 6898
Reputation : 20
Join date : 2012-10-23
Location : MI

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  ravinat on Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:56 pm

The mixed 70s

  The seventies were more of an extension of the 60s from a TFM PoV. The microcomputer revolution that was going on in the Valley had little impact on India and music was a far cry to even feel any tremors.

  From an audio PoV, the Vinyl was getting cheaper than the previous decade and more available. The recording companies were still not sure if they can make money off film music. They did start taking this film music seriously in the mid-70s and more folks started buying good film music on vinyl. Still, the radio was govt controlled and the commoner had to wait what AIR would broadcast.

  There was this guy from the dusty villages of South TN who started during film music, though he had a confusing image of a folk artist from a village. However, as an experienced combo player, he was pretty good with technology and he did something in the 70s that would help him consolidate his position in the 80s. Ilayaraja introduced stereo recording in the late 70s and it sounded so different to the mono-tuned ears. He was captivated by this technology and wanted a purer sound that what existed before. His competitors did not bother about all this fancy tech. I am sure, you can easily draw parallels to today's MDs - it is just the platform that has changed.

  Compact cassettes started surfacing and it was Raja who would benefit from this revolution of audio distribution. While this was technology that helped him, he did something in the early 80s, that was his own making. We will cover that in the next post.

  Raja was always enamored by stereo sound. Even today, you can hear his left to right fading in 'Engengo Sellum En Ennangal' from Pattakathi Bhairavan. I am no fan of this, as fading audio is plain gimmickry. He did that even with 'Kai Veesi' in Nandalala in 2010 too.

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  ravinat on Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:48 pm

The defining 80s

I am not calling 80s as defining because this is a Raja forum. This was the decade where the musician made a conscious decision to introduce technology as opposed to benefitting from its evolution around him.


The evolution that Raja benefitted big time in the 80s was the compact cassette format. Music was churned on audio tapes and the ubiquitous device that played it also got an Indian name - 2-in-1, for a radio cassette recorder. Though the compact cassette did not stop anybody from listening to music of any age, most of the availability was centered on Raja and he benefitted hugely. Raja just took advantage - he did nothing but created some loose arrangements with recording companies that he regrets even today.


The technology he introduced was the electronic synthesizer and post 1982 or so, every Raja composition, be in CCM, Western or folk always featured Viji playing this instrument. He would create a synthesized flute or guitar or piano arrangement, where possible. Recorded in stereo, he hugely benefitted from this technology. Slowly, the multi-track recording technology came about and Raja did not truly take advantage of it compared to the next generation composers. His music making methodology did not support the recording of parts and assembling it as a wholesome song or score later. He was a reluctant user of the technology though he understood its potential. His speed did not require such technology. Little did he know that the next generation would master this and also start exploiting technology that he had no time to master.


The signs of technology onslaught on the music industry were visible dimly in the 80s though they became very influential only in the 90s. Technology in the 80s was limited to a trip to Singapore and brining a latest synthesizer or drum kit or other electronic gizmo paying heavy customs duties. The 90s was a different story. There was also a clear writing on the wall - unless you keep a balance between your musical and tech abilities (or surround yourself with folks who can bridge your knowledge gaps) you will be swept away.

The Compact Disk made its entry towards the end of the 80s and was considered an expensive toy just like vinyls in the 60s. It was touted as the holy grail of digital music and it suffered what today's 4K TVs suffer from - lack of content. The 90s would change that too.

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  ravinat on Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:04 pm

Digital 90s

  While in the west, the 90s is called the beginning of the internet, not much happened in India wrt Internet. The CD format introduced in the later part of the 80s was waiting for some high quality digital content from India. This is where AR comes in. With his state-of-the-art studio doing ad jingles, he had invested heavily in equipment and learned to work with recording specialists and understood what it means to create good quality digital sound. The older MDs just got by. While I may not be a great fan of AR musically, his technology focus is commendable.

  His first few albums succeeded on two areas - catchy tunes and great recording. He would soon branch into electronic music production, leaving his competitors in the dust from a technology PoV. Here again, he was one of the early users of Logic Studio when Apple was not even a big name (Jobs returned to Apple in 1997). He learned how to integrate foreign sounds (from samples, loops) with Indian music. Interestingly, most of this work was done not with Internet but with CDs.  He threw such a big wrench in the film music space that his competitors gasped trying to catch up. AR literally owned the 90s with his huge tech lead. He became the tech icon of IFM.

  One of the things that AR did that others could easily imitate was the recording of multiple tracks and assembling them. However, till this date, nobody does this better than him in India. There are some cases where this assembly went awry and he was criticized for taking too much time, but it worked mostly.

  The other environmental technical development was the introduction of cable TV channels in India. The musical side of the cable TV revolution was the extension of what Doordarshan did in the 80s. While DD would limit itself to a 1 hour program showing film song clippings, the cable TV channels found this to be an easy way of 'filler' content, when their programming could not keep up. They went to the extreme of creating even 'filler channels' that only telecasted film music clips. This drove a clear change in how music was perceived. From a pure audio world, it shifted gear to an audio-visual world. People started seeing songs and not just hearing songs. Part of AR's rise was fueled by the wonderful choreography by Prabhudeva. It suddenly mattered, how you shot a film song. The greatest of songs get little mileage after this point when it is not properly cinematographed. 

 Digital quality recording, cable TV driven audio visuals,  multi-track recoding of instrument bits and using computer software to assemble the parts - that was the tech advancement in a nutshell of the 90s technology.

The next decade will convert the friend into a foe for AR, as software is easier to master than good music.


Last edited by ravinat on Sat Sep 26, 2015 4:45 pm; edited 1 time in total

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  crimson king on Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:16 am

ravinat wrote:The defining 80s


The signs of technology onslaught on the music industry were visible dimly in the 80s though they became very influential only in the 90s. Technology in the 80s was limited to a trip to Singapore and brining a latest synthesizer or drum kit or other electronic gizmo paying heavy customs duties. The 90s was a different story. There was also a clear writing on the wall - unless you keep a balance between your musical and tech abilities (or surround yourself with folks who can bridge your knowledge gaps) you will be swept away.

The Compact Disk made its entry towards the end of the 80s and was considered an expensive toy just like vinyls in the 60s. It was touted as the holy grail of digital music and it suffered what today's 4K TVs suffer from - lack of content. The 90s would change that too.

I think in a way IR's reluctance to embrace technology saved Tamil music from, ahem, utopia if I may call it that in the 80s.  In HFM, the impact of technology was already apparent as of course in the West where warm production made way for the crisp but cold and dry 'digital' sound of the 80s.  It actually improved in the 90s as digital technology improved but in the noughties a slew of technological improvements made self production so easy that the traditional studio control over the quality of music was lost.  I don't have a lot of sympathy for the studios/labels (and in India's case, the music directors barring Ilayaraja).  They had themselves begun to dumb down in service of satisfying public tastes.  But we have reached such a nadir today where Salman Khan 'sings' Main Hoon Tera Hero in a voice clearly not his (probably Mohit Chauhan?) and even that take is smothered with autotune.  Technology has ultimately proved to be a frankenstein. It hasn't just enabled musicians, it is now taking control of music away from them and putting it in the hands of DJs and actors who want to pretend to be singers.  There was an article with a list of jobs and the probability factor of their getting wiped out by automation in the next 20 years.  Musicians face a higher probability of losing out to robots than actors!  That says it all.
'

crimson king

Posts : 1408
Reputation : 11
Join date : 2013-09-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  ravinat on Sat Sep 26, 2015 5:24 pm

2000s - early internet


The 2000s was a crazy period where leaders no longer could lead with just technology. AR, who had a huge lead with his technology and catchy tunes, started falling behind as there were two factors that contributed to this: 1) The internet made all musical software easily accessible and a lot of musicians started using the internet and learned about digital tools that were available 2) Logic Studio had competitors such as Abbleton, Proworks and so on which started pushing the envelope and did not require an expensive Apple hardware.

Folks such as Harris or Vidyasagar got hold of the same tools that AR had, and the playing field shifted. Vidyasagar was talented on top of his ability to do good recording and work with computer software. I must say that AR was not left lagging behind. He soon became the brand ambassador of Logic Studio and also became the Indian composer who was willing to test some new digital instruments such as Continuum keyboards and so forth. Every time AR touched these instruments, he demanded the manufacturers to find ways to make it easy for the Indian raga/ghamakams  to be played. This part of AR is outstanding, as he does not get satisfied because his new toy can play western music well. He is always looking for using new tech to emulate Indian music. This is his greatest contribution in my view than his songs or his background scores or his marketing. 

Many of these instruments did not take off in a big way and Rahman became no longer the leader in TFM. While he had some big hits in the 2000s, his competitors were leading from a market share PoV. His high cost did not help as he could not do small movies with his huge marketing overhead. The CDs were slowly losing their shine as online services started becoming easy to access.

It is during this decade that AR will be relegated to an icon than a successful commercial MD as he did few assignments and with his Oscar, he started focusing more on foreign assignments. It is in this decade that he started getting decent with background scores some thing he had a yawning gap with Raja. Raja did not need the fancy tools and not even a stop watch to do his background music when others sweated it out. 

This was the decade when the MDs started overusing electronic music (Raja included) and few were able to marry it well with Indian music. Raja's experiments were mostly in Malayalam that had nothing to do with the TFM. The TFM shifted gears from dappangguththu to synthesized kuthu. The downward slide with electronic instruments in terms of musical quality was only accelerating and this was the decade when a lot of newbies without much formal musical training jumped into the musical bandwagon. Setting up a music studio was simple and the cost was a fraction of what it used to be, thanks to the AWS and the associated gear being available cheaply. The music samples were available on the internet freely for anyone to experiment.

The biggest technology advance that impacted music is the free availability of music in MP3 format. Few music folks and techies know that the MP3 format is copyrighted by a German firm (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3) and every recording label that converts a track to MP3 must pay this company a royalty. While this format has been available from the 90s, the iPod accelerated the adoption of this lossy format. Unlike the loss less CD format, (as long as it is done with DDD), compression does have an impact to the audio quality. However, music fans wanted to carry more music in their pockets and they did not mind the compression impact. Suddenly, older music and newer music alike were getting converted to MP3. A lot of analog format audio got converted to digital and older composers like MSV or Raja looked suddenly like dinosaurs. Even Raja's 80s stereo recording would not cut it.  The digital producers of the AR and later generation hugely benefited from the MP3 format.  

Raja bounced back with his strong musical fundamentals and others struggled with electronic junk. AR tried to focus on foreign assignments and BGM. He got so caught up with foreign assignments that he started sending tuned back to his studio as attachments!

Social media was catching up and the next half decade would change everything one more time as technology would come in from unforeseen directions to launch new musicians. Will they last is another question? 

All this analysis should not be interpreted as though musical knowledge is unimportant. It is music first and technology next. It is the proportion of the next factor that you allow into your portfolio that perhaps determines the success in the future. More importantly, the longevity of the output. Is longevity any longer a factor? That's perhaps the question in front of us for the later part of the next decade.

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  ravinat on Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:10 am

Redefining 2010x


  It is still 2015 and so we are only half way into this decade - however, the tech impact on music in the last 5 years has been a lot more pronounced than it was earlier in a full decade.

  Though the 2000s started the cellular phone revolution throughout the world, it was not a media rich experience. The 201x has been one where the general public started to spend more on a smartphone than on a computer, for the first time in history. Today's cell phones cost more than the cost of a Windows laptop and still people do not mind. It gives them the multi-media experience (apart from other conveniences such as GPS, email, browsing and so forth) in one place and most folks in India have all their internet centered on their cell phones and the ones in large cities can afford decent bandwidth.

  As a writer, I also notice that this gives a different style of consuming information - most of the users do not want long messages, articles anymore. Everything must be delivered on a short format. Critical information must be shared with short messages - Twitter. The facebook communities that have sprung up are more focused on emotional short exchanges than deep analytical arguments. Finally, there is youtube for everything that can be shot with a cellphone in video recorder format or clips from film music.

  Where does this leave music and composers? Where does this leave films in general? Given the fact that CDs no longer are favored, (even in the West, they still have the number of records sold as a measure for successful artists - something that is decades old).  Movie music is not a commodity that can be sold on any older media other than selling them as ring tones on smart phones. This is a huge paradigm shift and technology forces the entire motion picture industry to look at a smartphone as a delivery mechanism for its output. That is a transformation in the making and a whole bunch of settop TV boxes are trying to redefine and control this space. However, no settop TV box maker or streaming service is making the same money as a CD or record label of the past.

  That leaves the musician at the mercy of the digital medium. One of the developments in TFM is the launch of Anirudh with his youtube Kolaveri song going viral. We now have a youtube star who launches himself visually in most of his films. This is unusual for composers in TFM, who stayed int he background doing their work. The jury is out on whether Anirudh or his music will stay. But, he is technology's music child of India. We have to see how and if he grows up.

  I also was amused, but came to terms slowly, when GV Prakash said that he sends his tunes through whatsapp and gets his directors to approve them using this medium. Tech is now everywhere and being used in unorthodox ways. There are hundreds of music composers dotting the Indian music scene and most of them have lives like mayflies.

  Slowly, the music in a film has lost its value as good music cannot assure success of any movie. Raja's NEPV and AR's VTV have made the TFM wonder the place for good music in films. In both these cases, the film did not make money, though the albums were successful. A recent film such as 'Ramanujan' had some great music and never could even make it to satellite TV.

  The value for songs is significantly getting devalued in Indian films and what's needed is some dance stuff (thanks to the dance video industry of Mumbai) that has a shelf life of a month. The true value of music has become one of background music. This is where the best of film makers will go to the best - Raja, as he is the emperor of background music in India. The biggest music budget in films in the future will be for the BGM and not some stupid songs that call for men and women running around trees. Raja's greatest successes in 201x were all BGM based - Pazhasi Raja, Sri Rama Rajyam, Nandalala, OAK. He has relatively fewer song based successes -  NEPV, Megha, Snehaveedu - all box office duds.

  In the meanwhile, both the MDs and singers have been commoditized thanks to widespread digital media and the internet. The way AR is handling this change in technology is a bit of a stretch. He relies heavily on Hollywood films and background music and this can hopefully work for him at the cost of his home grown musicians and studio investments. When his Hollywood assignments dry up, he will run into issues in signing up big banners as his cost structure is huge. His risk may pay off as he may get a steady stream of Hollywood assignments for sometime. However, Hollywood is the same place that threw the super talented Moricone out. He gave up in frustration and ended up writing scores for European orchestras. Raja is fine as he now has a formula of electronic music for small films and large orchestras for larger budgets from anywhere in the world (the European musicians are hungry for work from the Indians). He has his stable set of talented musicians supporting his effort domestically, while he has the unique WCM skills to work with the largest orchestras of the world. He is uniquely positioned and has the least of risks among music composers in India. Though he took a while to work this formula out, he does have the silver bullet against changing technology.

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  crimson king on Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:44 am

IMO if Rahman really wants to develop the Western market as a 'hedge' against dwindling fortunes in India, he should get some like minded musicians together and record a solo album (or under the banner of a new band)...like a typical rock/pop artist.  Hollywood composers don't really have a high profile like in India because songs are not very important in their films unless it's an outright musical like Chicago.  Second tier rock greats would be more popular than Wiliams or Morricone who are only known and admired by musos.  He has tapped into paid media and possibly general goodwill in his favour to get good reviews for his Western assignments so far but he hasn't and really cannot create a splash in this format.  

Ravi, apps will commoditize everything!!!  laugh  It's a race to the bottom now.  Which will come first uber-commoditisation of every possible task once performed by an entire industry or start ups running out of funding as the baby boomers leave for their heavenly abode, is the question.  The sad thing about it is many of these disintermediation apps (generally lumped together as ecommerce in India) haven't even found a way to make money.  Even the big daddy Amazon is still a loss leader and makes more money from its cloud computing vertical.  But investors are betting on them like there's no tomorrow while long surviving industries which have provided returns on investment reliably over the years are struggling today.  Well, in about five-six years, maybe some clarity will emerge out of this madness.

crimson king

Posts : 1408
Reputation : 11
Join date : 2013-09-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  crimson king on Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:42 am

Speaking of ARR, just watching 100 foot journey and his BGM is superb.  Guess he doesn't get the scope for that kind of treatment in our generally loud films.  He may or may not be as talented as IR but he has got the opportunities to do the things IR could have and didn't.  And it's not all down to IR's time.  With friends like Bharathiraja, IR doesn't need enemies.

crimson king

Posts : 1408
Reputation : 11
Join date : 2013-09-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  kamalaakarsh on Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:21 am

Some very good overview of the evolution of technology here. 

I have few points to add, not about technology elements within the music, but about using technology to make (record) the music sound good.

my inference is that technology was important to Raaja, but only to the extent of "clarity of sound". He probably thought - "are all the instruments sounding crisp and clean in my recording?" (solely my hunch, i could be wrong. It also depends on sound engineer). Whereas, ARR took it few notches higher. He probably thought about acoustic dynamics. He probably thought - "how do listeners feel here, when they hear this particular sound of guitar pluck? can we do add some effect more here?". I always felt that ARR albums (a good number of them at least) had very distinct sound design in each and every album. There was not much similarity between few albums, in terms of production quality. A Bombay was sounding different from En Swaasa Kaatre and Dil Se was very different from Rangeela or Taal. Today, from a holistic perspective, I might feel that it is probably not a herculean task for him, given the resources he was amassing and investing in. But back then, it made a difference because he was consistently sounding very different in each and every album and that really cemented the perception of "variety", "experimental" etc etc. And I give it to him that he was conscious about this aspect and was putting in effort in these things, given his fascination for technology. In one of the interviews of H.Sridhar (ARR's sound engineer back then), Sridhar said that ARR is so adept at constructing and deconstructing the sound elements, that he would literally rip open anything - be it instrument or even headphones - to analyze and understand why it works the way it works. 

This is not to say that Raaja's focus on tech was perfunctory. He preferred recording some albums in Bombay because (perhaps) he liked the recording quality there. And some albums did sound amazing. Yet - call it a generation gap - he could not go beyond a certain degree of emphasis on technology (because his mantra was "music first"). And most importantly (and disappointingly, for me), the sound quality in his albums was inconsistent, particularly after late 80s and during 90s. 

Whenever I play some raaja songs (compilation), some songs come up with some amazing sound quality and immediately the next song (from same era/year or even later) sounds very bad. Once my wife asked me if the song is from early 70s, while in fact it was from early 90s. She immediately asked me why most Raaja's songs lacked that proper sound quality despite the technology advancement. And no, her benchmark was not ARR. Her benchmarks were - you cannot guess - Khaiyyam and R.D.Burman. She said the sound quality in the (70s) songs by these two composers was so crisp and clean. I told her that not all Raaja songs have that poor sound and probably we need to get hold of Vinyls. But then, that was probably not the justifying answer from me - because I don't have vinyls of RD and Khaiyyam to appreciate their sound quality.

As one Kannada composer once remarked (on this forum? or the other one?) - Raaja (sometimes) entrusted the recording responsibility to just about anyone, like even Uttam Singh, who is not a sound engineer. 

ARR on the other hand insisted on his crew to push the envelope. It was not only ARR who working midnights to make the music, but his sound engineers too burnt the midnight oil in postproduction. And most importantly, ARR (and probably his crew) had concrete vision about how a piece must sound and he (probably) inspired everyone to think along those lines, damn the deadlines.

kamalaakarsh

Posts : 204
Reputation : 1
Join date : 2012-10-24
Location : Hyderabad

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  kamalaakarsh on Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:22 am

crimson king wrote:Speaking of ARR, just watching 100 foot journey and his BGM is superb.  Guess he doesn't get the scope for that kind of treatment in our generally loud films.  He may or may not be as talented as IR but he has got the opportunities to do the things IR could have and didn't.  And it's not all down to IR's time.  With friends like Bharathiraja, IR doesn't need enemies.

I heard/read from someone else on this forum - that 100 foot journey OST is very good. Need to listen to it.

kamalaakarsh

Posts : 204
Reputation : 1
Join date : 2012-10-24
Location : Hyderabad

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  crimson king on Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:42 pm

^^^  I haven't heard the OST yet, just the BGM.  

Re IR's sound recording, as far as acoustic dynamics go, I prefer his music to ARR.  Even if the sound is not the most polished, I can always, always feel the throb of the instruments playing.  It's like being there listening to the musicians perform.  I can hear the bow pressed to the strings or the guitarist plucking strings with the fingers, wind passing through the body of the flute etc.  I don't get that with ARR ever because, from day one, his sound is so polished and stripped clean of anything that may remotely sound raw.  At the time, though, that super-duper polished sound was completely unprecedented in Indian film music and took the scene by storm, making IR's recordings look sloppy by comparison.  I was blown away by the quality of ARR recordings at the time but today am inured to it because I am a lot more exposed to music in general.  I skip straight past sound recording quality and go for the music.  However, it is not just superior recording that ARR brought to the music scene.  He brought in a certain production ethos that was already well worn in Western pop for a long time but was, again, unprecedented in the Indian context.  He had the imagination to take the song beyond pallavi-interlude-charanam and build up moments into big, fat crescendos.  Like the "Nathiyae Neeyanal..." phrase of Pudhu Vellai Mazhai.  That is not a pallavi, that's a pure Western pop-style chorus.  See how he builds it up into a big moment so that the refrain stays in the mind.  That approach however has its limitations and my disappointment is once he ran into those limitations, he didn't try to grow further as a composer.  Maybe he cares too much about commercial success, but that's a different topic, different thread.  But that anyhow is the difference between IR and ARR.  What Western is there in IR's music is conceptually very advanced but fitted to the Indian context.  ARR 'anglicised' the Indian context for the first time.  You can write English lyrics for Pudhu Vellai Mazhai or En Kadhalae and just straighten out the slight hints of gamakam and you will get a regular English pop song.  You can't do that with IR's 80 output (you probably can with many tracks on NEPV/Megha).  Again, even now that IR has also anglicised the Indian idiom he has leaned towards the art side of Western music rather than the pop side.  Maybe he just doesn't like the idea of a cliched 80s pop track very much!  Razz  Can't blame him if that's the case, thank God for good taste!

crimson king

Posts : 1408
Reputation : 11
Join date : 2013-09-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  crimson king on Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:52 am

Revisiting this thread because I came across this interview given by IR's sound engineer:




Here he mentions that Rakkamma Kaiya Thattu was done on 8 track.  I don't know how much his memory can be trusted though usually technicians tend to be spot on.  Why I ask if I have heard claims that if you use proper audiophile equipment, there is nothing wrong with IR's sound and it's the best in the world.  I can agree with the first part but have always doubted the second.  To put it in perspective, Dark Side of the Moon (and this is 1973) used a 16 track machine and probably more tracks in actuality through a variety of techniques.  The opening bars of Breathe, heard on a proper system for the first time, are breathtaking.  I have never come across such a rich sound in IR's recordings.  Well, ok, richness in terms of the fine string arrangements which inherently sound rich but the sound itself is thin and dense (understandable if all the layers were packed into 8 tracks). So, back to the question, how many tracks did IR typically use in the 80s?  Mind, I am not faulting him for not using 16 track.  It was considered expensive even for the profitable US/UK studios in the 70s and importing them into licence raj-India would have been a tall order.

crimson king

Posts : 1408
Reputation : 11
Join date : 2013-09-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Music and technology - highs and lows

Post  app_engine on Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:13 pm

Interview of another sound engineer - Sampath of AVM


He and J.J. Manickam were at the helm when Ilaiyaraja made his debut. “It was a disappointing start as power went off when he began. The recording resumed after an hour but this time the valves on the recording equipment conked out. When people advised me to stop the recording, I did not want to let down Raja and I just requested him for another take without citing the reason,” he recalls behind-the-scene goings on while recording the song for Annakili.

app_engine

Posts : 6898
Reputation : 20
Join date : 2012-10-23
Location : MI

View user profile

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum