Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Holding on to their Legacy (1974 AD)

(Src wavemag)

During the height of their success, 1974 AD generated interest similar to pop boy bands: screaming fans and requests to give up smoking (probably the Nepali equivalent of a homemade "Marry me" poster). But their popularity has lasted far longer than most boy bands, probably because of their versatility and an enthusiasm for an amalgam of sounds, rhythms and ideas that means that their sound stays fresh.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the band has once again reworked their classic formula of drawing on 70s rock influences, embellishing it with rhythms as far apart as folk Nepali to African beats in their latest album. Their eighth album, released four years after their last, Aath Athaara combines mellow acoustics with thumping bass: the signature 1974 AD style.

At least in terms of unparalleled eminence, 1974 AD is the musical equivalent of Rajesh Hamal. (Scr, wavemag) No concert is complete without their participation, no musical conversation complete without their mention. Although their band has endured in the music scene for almost two decades, their line-up has kept changing, and the band now consists of Adrian Pradhan, Manoj KC, Nirakar Yakthumba and Sanjay Shrestha.

The blending of new sounds and rhythms with old, however, persists. In the new album you will find tracks like "Satyabadi", which is in fact derived from a Sanskrit poem. Its loud presence will trump the tracks like "Bardaan" and "Aja Kaha", which are mellower and more acoustic in sound.

"The album will be the most technically advanced of all our albums," says Manoj KC, the band's guitarist, who also produced the latest creation. After so many years, the fans should expect no less. But don't fear. Their boy band-like charm has not disappeared. It will comfort their amorous fans to learn that their album is called Aath Athaara because Nirakar and Manoj were born on the eighth (aath), and Sanjay and Adrian on the 18th (athaara). Aww…

Monday, August 9, 2010

A sound of their own

AUG 09 - (Amy Sellmyer, src, ekantipur)
It’s hard to put a name on the sound of Hari Maharjan Project: it is at the same time rock, funk, gypsy jazz, classical Indian and folk with a sprinkling of influence from the Middle-East. And after a brief introduction to HRP’s three members, it’s easy to see where this musical diversity comes from.

Guitarist Hari Mahrajan has been a figure in Nepal’s music scene for years, playing with popular bands Nepathya and Karma. After exploring his interest in gypsy jazz with renowned artist in the form, Danial Givone, Maharjan has created his own hybrid between this genre’s style and that of his Nepali and Newari roots. Riju Tuladhar, a self-taught bassist and founding member of Nepali rock band Looza, also plays with fusion band Trikaal. Drummer Daniel Rasaily, the youngest of the trio, started performing in church at a young age and has since been expanding his percussion repertoire playing with Stroficus, Gravity, X-it and Christian band Salvation.

Though all three members have their roots in different genres, their experience and devotion to music have formed a perfect fusion in the two-year-old band. Combine their diverse backgrounds with features from Nawaraj Gurung drumming the tabala, Prabhu Raj Dhakal plucking the tanpura and Santosh Bhakta playing the ishraj and the result is the band’s refreshing debut album, Kalakarmi.

A quick scan through the nine tracks-all written by Maharjan except one Chinese folk tune-is full of surprises. Listening to Himakshi, you are at once transported to the sidewalks outside a Parisian café; change tracks to Raktika, both epic and soothing at the same time, and will find yourself charmed by the sounds of India’s classical instruments. The album’s nearly 12-minute title track gives each instrument free reign to explore its boundaries and each artist a chance to truly exhibit their art. On the funky Soul in You and harder-hitting Never Gonna Drink & Drive Again, the band is able to showcase their unique ability to blend Western rock with Eastern influences.

Though the album is a completely instrumental compilation, it doesn’t leave the listener wanting for lyrics. The melodies twined between Mahrajan’s strumming and Tuladhar’s plucking expresses as much as any lyric could. Overall, the album has a playful, experimental sound unique to other Nepali artists on the market.

Though the album smoothly blends together a wide range of genres and allows these devoted musicians full spread to explore their craft, the CD recording lacks the unmistakeable tone of Mahrajan’s guitar, the distinctive sound of Tuladhar’s bass and the energy of Raisally’s drums that you feel the instant you walk into one of their live gigs, truly the best place to experience the Hari Maharjan Project.

Their album, Kalakarmi, is available in the market and online.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Basan Back As a Band

Former vocalist of "The Shadows", came back with his own solo debut titled "Emerge" few years back. Now again he is back as a band with is self titled band and with their second album "Sunaudai Chhaun" which is production and marketing from Rebel Creation. Music video of "Ko Hun Ma" has been aired on various television channel. And the video has been directed by 11:30 Basan himself. (Src. Babal dot com)