Friday, 17 May 2013

Now that's what I call music

There's one primary reason why I've been writing absolutely nothing of substance these days. I am tripping on music. Music and guitaring are the only things I resort to in my spare time (which means "most" of the time). Even reading has taken a complete backseat.

The "trip" can be traced back to just more than a year ago, when I got hooked onto Dire Straits and Knopfler. Since then my taste has gradually acquired a wider perspective, as far as the genre is concerned. Straits led me to the more haunting and emotional pop-rock elements of Fleetwood Mac, the Macs paved way to more of the pure blues (and may I say a melange of psychedelic rock too), with bands like Cream, Derek and the Dominos, and Blind Faith (all "Eric Clapton", in short) occupying most of my listening time. In the meantime, I happened to discover that The Eagles were a jolly good bunch of musicians too. Until a few months ago, I didn't even know that they composed some truly classic rock songs apart from Hotel California. Hehe, what a pity. After (literally) growing up on this musical diet for a few months, it was time to welcome Pink Floyd, which was to be the latest addition to my ever-growing collection of rock. Arguably one of the greatest psychedelic and conceptual rock bands ever to rule the roost, Pink Floyd has brought me to a stage where I've perhaps come to realize what a "trip" means. Jethro Tull's highly progressive and acoustic+blues+folk+jazz escapades are mesmerizing too. Especially Ian Anderson's downright crazy flute riffs. The guy is almost always known to perform with Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia when he tours India. "Strange" is the best one-word answer to describe Tull. Their music contains extremely weird chord progressions, unheard of before. More psychedelia in the form of bands like The Doors, too, is waiting in the wings, and yes, I've even started appreciating some Led Zeppelin works, even though I would prefer the smooth and husky voice of Waters and Gilmour to Plant's screams. But who knows. Another year down the line you might find me tripping on even more heavy music.

Getting introduced to more and more complex music, like the classical-jazz guitaring of John Mclaughlin, is helping me learn the guitar too; they call it ear-training. Guitaring will always remain on the list of my "hobbies/interests", but it will also be something that will remain on the very top of the list of "things-that-I-regret-not-having-pursued-early-in-life". But nevertheless, bands like Straits are educating me, almost as a favor to me. It's a slow process, and if one is not obsessed, one doesn't take the trouble to understand it. It's infinitely complex. You derive something out of it, only after you listen more and more to it. Eventually a day comes when you listen and know what each instrument is exactly doing.

It would be unfair if I did not express my gratitude to three pals who have been partly responsible for this addiction. So, thanks fellas - NK, Sid, and Saurabh. Thank you for drowning me in the world of music. As Saurabh, says: "Isn't it interesting that the rebellious rock has always been the music of choice for nerds? This was the music intended for people out there wanting to overturn the establishment, and yet it has been adopted by people who actually enjoy being cooped up and ogling at source code". Saurabh, I agree wholeheartedly. Strange world, it is, out there!

I have almost given up listening to folks like Kenny G, Yanni...even ARR to an extent (oh dear!). They are the masters of their own game, and will always remain dear to my heart, but its time for life to take a different course. I wonder how one eventually develops an ear to a totally different genre of music, and not only gets accustomed to it, but a time comes when that is the only thing you really like and really want to hear. Sometimes change in life can be a bitter pill to swallow. Betcha, this is surely not the time!