Thursday, January 05, 2006

Dilemma of the Better Son

Now, as I see the past, I must have been a pathetic son to my father. Now, that I have a son, I feel I, myself, could have done a better job as a son. Every time I look at my son and my chest is filled with warmth, love, pride and fondness, I realise that this is how my father must have felt every time he looked at me. Now when I see my son grow, I realise that my father, too, must have been faced with the dilemma of the better son.

The Dilemma of the Better Son

I want my son to have the best things in life. I don’t mean material things. I mean I want him to have the best physical, mental and spiritual equipment to face life and deal with it. For achieving this, I am willing to stretch myself to any extent. I see to it that he goes to the best of schools, has an environment conducive to his growth and has the love of his parents behind him at all times.
But that is not enough; I want my son to be better than me. Better in all respects! It’s strange; I never wanted that about anybody else. I am not a bad soul. I have never wished ill of anybody. But never have I so explicitly felt that somebody should be better than me. I feel this, and very strongly, for my son. ? I never learnt swimming and I want him to learn it; I never took care of my physique and I want him to be physically fit at all times. I want him to start learning music at an earlier age and be more sincere than I ever was.
So, I dream about my son being better than me… and lo! The picture scares me! If he’s a better student than I was – would he lose respect for me? So if he has to be the better son, I have to be the better Father! And so, somewhat of a late start, but I am trying to be a better person than I have been.
Now, I look at my son and realise how much his mere presence has taught me. For one, he taught me the proverb that I had never understood as a child. The Child is Father of the Man.

© Kaushal S. Inamdar, 2005

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Of Remix & Ethics

As a music composer I have been asked innumerable times what I think about the recent spate of remixes. Now, the word ‘spate’ here poses some interesting possibilities. The dictionary meaning of the word ‘spate’ means a sudden flood, rush, or outpouring: “It issues a spate of words from the loudspeakers and the politicians”. If you look up the thesaurus you will also see some options for the word ‘spate’ such as ‘flurry’, ‘muddle’, ‘confusion’, etc. The phrase ‘spate of remixes’ embeds all these possibilities of meanings. Great! Ambiguity helps everybody and music composers who are made to talk on record hold Ambiguity more sacred than the ‘Shadja’ itself!
This spate of remixes has changed our lives – and this can, at the most be an understatement, but not otherwise. You can see that on every little corner of life. Have you realised, for example, that there are more musicians now than there were at any point of time in the past? Technology has made music available more freely in many more ways than one. In the Shivaji Park area of Dadar, a small neighbourhood of Mumbai, itself there are at least a hundred musicians. You will find a music composer in every alternate lane (believe it or not, they have all done a feature film each and are regular names on the television), perhaps two (or at least one-and-a-half) singers in every lane. For the first time in history the density of struggling actors is facing a competition from density of struggling musicians. Often we see that struggling actors end up being semi-struggling musicians before settling down as dust on television. I shall reserve another article for technology and music, but the point is that there are more musicians now than ever before and they are all doing okay – at least financially. So we have a spate of musicians. I am one of them and like all these folks I don’t think so!
Now we have a spate of musicians but do we have that much music? To add to the woes of the mushrooming audio companies, the FM channels dished out the most contemporary music with a dash of unpredictability (as to which would be the next track played). At such times what does one do but fall back on a trusted tune? The musicians have got to earn, for God’s sake, and so have the music companies!

What is this remix business?

Don’t get me wrong; I am talking colloquially. I have no facts and figures about the economics of Remix sales. Moreover, it’s a boring topic. But what does one mean by a remix?
Remix the verb means - To recombine (audio tracks or channels from a recording) to produce a new or modified audio recording: remixed a popular ballad and turned it into a dance hit.
Remix, the noun, means - A recording produced by remixing.

The way in which we interpret a remix is sometimes slightly different from what the dictionary meaning says. That is, sometimes, the old tracks are not used at all. They simply are recreated. Ideally, is remix such a villainous thing to do? What is (or should be) the philosophy behind remix? I think that every classic needs to be reinterpreted by the new generation. So if I think that a song has not lost its relevance over the years I remix it to reinterpret it differently trying to get it in perspective of how I see things today.
But does that happen? Rarely… comes pat the answer. All we get to hear is a moronic hamming of the synthesizers and electronic instruments and a disoriented, feeble, virtually soulless and equally moronic voice that trample our golden memories with inhuman pleasure. It is like receiving a gift of a framed and unsolved jigsaw puzzle.
The point is not why we are doing remixes; the point is why are we doing them so badly and inanely?

Why I won’t do remixes

Imagine your neighbour walking in and saying “Can I borrow your child for a few days? I wanna him to dress as I do and speak the kinda language that I speak.” Horrified? So are the music composers who have to listen to these inane remixes of their own songs. And they aren’t even informed, let alone compensated, most of the times when their song is remixed. The other side of the story is that once you put your work of art for public scrutiny you shouldn’t be upset if the critics tear it to pieces. But it is one thing to be criticised and analysed and even valued, but quite another to be punished in the name of tribute.
I decided not to be part of the remix bandwagon almost as soon as it started. Not because I oppose remixes per se, but because I think I have better alternatives. For example, there is a poem by Kavi Anil – Bai Yaa Paavasaana – which has been composed by P. L. Deshpande. I loved the tune but I thought that I could see it differently. So I composed it afresh. If I like a musical composition, I try to find the LCM of that composition – some basic things like what is the thing that appeals in that composition – and then use that LCM in my composition. For me, it is a better, healthier and more creative alternative to remix.
On a concluding note, I want to say that remix is not taboo, but the intent of the remix will define its quality. After all it is intent that separates a murder from a manslaughter!

© Kaushal S. Inamdar, 2005

Sunday, January 01, 2006

An Introduction

Hello Reader,
Music in the World of Noise appears to be a very Utopian title for a blog. As you read the posts subsequently, however, you will discover that it is more self talk than anything else. The noise, like the music is very much in my head.

At every point of my existence as a music composer and a human being I stumble across question marks. These question marks are very tricky and they do not dissect my life into questions posed to music composer and questions posed to a human being. Somewhat like the famous line in the film Deewar - "Lagta hai bhai ke bhes mein mujrim baat kar raha hai!".

I am aware of the fact that the internet is medium of information. But I don't intend to contribute to the information explosion in any manner (one reason being that there are great chances that I might impart the wrong information!) Jokes apart, The bottom line is - In this New Year, I seek your company on this ride to self-discovery.

Happy New Year!

© Kaushal S. Inamdar