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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I started thinking about this, album reviews, after I read an extremely funny one on Metal Archives. Really, why do we read reviews? Why do people write them? Is it supposed to be a democratic process? Do some people have a superior musical taste and vision that most of us just lack? Frankly, I don't know.

Review 1 : OMG! They have done i again! Love these guys! Fantastic - 10/10

Fanboi review. The kind for who, certain bands can do no wrong. Not really over the top, but a little stupid at times. Can be blatantly blind.

Review 2 : Can we move on please? This is boring! - 1.5/10

Someone who listens to a lot of music and is certainly trend hopping. Because the alternative would be someone like Dom Lawson, somebody, who has genuinely heard a lot of music and can objectively review the material. I am not saying he/she does not have a point. But then the review does not contain the explanation, just a bloated, overhyped rhetoric of how cool the person is and how much music he/she has heard and how he/she has moved on from shit like this.

Review 3 : Good album. Could have been more innovative, but can't be faulted with. - 6.5/10

Most of the people fall in this category. The average, the bourgeois. Not to say that they are totally wrong or whack, but just playing it safe. This is a subset of the fanboi category with some caution thrown in. You can find the most relevant criticisms leveled against an album in such reviews, albeit not one but all of them read and digested and then synopsized. The cowardice aside.

Review 4 : Hearing them for the first time and hating it! - 1/10 

This is faggot central, right here. If you haven't heard the band before this, how do you conclude that you hate it? Some music tends to grow on you and some is first listen love. More often than not, these review will include phrases like "XYZ is so much better technically", or "this movement has stagnated" or "they should be incorporating some of ABC in their music". These are reviewers, I feel like taking a digital hacksaw to.

Let us get some things straight. Music is as objective as it gets. I think Nicki Minaj is terrible and so is Justin Bieber. I think Meshuggah is goddam awesome and Lamb of God are great. But I have drawn my own lines where I think something is good or terrible.

Technical perfection and complexity for some might mean unnecessary digressions for others. Progressive influences might mean straying away or losing it for others. Heavy music might mean noise to others. Party rock can mean terrible thoughtless music for some. All of this is objective.

According to me, being able to draw a line based on logic, musical taste and common sense is the best way to review music.  Being open minded is a pre-requisite when listening to new stuff. A review is made up of many aspects :
1. certainly the music
2. but also the lyrics
3. themes
4. style of music
5. history of the artiste.

Nobody is forcing you to give a reason for why you like or dislike certain music. But giving a sane and logical reason makes for a more believable review. Disagreement can ensue, but you make the other person think about the reasons that you just stated. That might just change things around.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just a square.....

This is my square on earth;
From windows as these
I see the world turn
Kaleidoscopic, into myriad colors.
Permeable these walls,
to the chirping of birds.
Sounds of human industry,
streaming through, affirming life.
Impervious, they stand
To disease, high wind and rain
Unrepentant and steady
True face of dignity
Microcosm of ideas
Transmitting to the horizon
Notes of a melodic song
Conveyor of an identity
A true sense of character
This is my square on earth
And I shall not relinquish it
For I live through it
And with it, shall end me.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Walk this dry earth
barren and desolate.
Bare feet scraping death,
Eyes thirst for the sight of life

He seems not lost
for there is nowhere to go
Horizon as bleak as the future
Reap what, when you cannot sow?

In time and repentance,
he drops to his knees
Dried blood and moist tears
he lets flow and touch the ground

Lets out an anguished cry
And asks forgiveness.
with the purest of hearts
Dry lips to the hard earth, kiss.

And springs forth a sound,
A fountain of life.
Showers over the cracks,
Covering the marks of strife.

Thunders the voice
"I forgive you too
Don't erase the past
Let it serve as reminder
For life to flourish abundant
Let us start anew"

This lyric has an added metaphor to itself, especially in the current state of India. I wish, people would forgive and forget. Vengeance may be necessary, but survival is utmost. Trust, it seems, is the missing piece in the puzzle. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Facing the Sun........

A Fatwa against Surya Namaskar, a kriya in the Indian art of Yoga. On the surface this looks ridiculous, which it is. But there might be a slight flip side to it. The thing is, Yoga is made synonymous with Hinduism as it was invented here in India by the earliest residents who were Hindus. And RSS is a Hindu Organisation, VHP is one, Bajrang Dal is one. Also, as the name suggests, Surya Namaskar is bowing to the sun. Rationally speaking, it only means to be able to harvest the energy of the sun and use it to remain fit. But, in a way, it also makes the Sun,  a God. So I can see why the Deoband Ulemas and the Muftis have a problem with this activity.

Now, a Fatwa, according to Wikipedia, in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā is called, in that respect, a Mufti, i.e. an issuer of fatwā, from the verb أَفْتَى 'aftā = "he gave a formal legal opinion on". This is not necessarily a formal position since most Muslims argue that anyone trained in Islamic law may give an opinion (fatwā) on its teachings. If a fatwā does not break new ground, then it is simply called a ruling.

An analogy might be made to the issue of legal opinions from courts in common-law systems. Fatwās generally contain the details of the scholar's reasoning, typically in response to a particular case, and are considered binding precedent by those Muslims who have bound themselves to that scholar, including future Muftis; mere rulings can be compared to memorandum opinions. The primary difference between common-law opinions and fatwās, however, is that fatwās are not universally binding; as the Sharia is not universally consistent and Islam is very non-hierarchical in structure, fatwās do not carry the sort of weight that secular common-law opinions do.

So, if, and I agree with this completely, religion is a matter of personal allegiance and faith to someone or something, then a person be left free to decide what he/she has to do. A religion cannot claim to be tolerant if free will is completely disregarded at the feet of fatwas. Only caveat, executions can be justified on the grounds of such fatwas in extreme cases even though they can never be justified by secular democratic laws.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Long Story Short.....

Thanks to Harsh Mankodi for sparking this train of thought. That is all the credit he is going to get for now....:P

Turning magnet coils,
Antennas and transmission lines
A mess of metal and charge
Long story short

Mammoth mass of sound
Feet stomping the ground
A mess of necessity and obligations
Long Story Short

Crawlings of a ink
Color, paper and words sink
A mess of emotions to convey
Long story short

Words spearing through the ether
Heard sometimes or the deaf ear
Distance of said and done
Long story short

Million nerves run amok
Powering the train of thought
Decisions Black, white and grey
Long Story short

The intangibles
Smiles, tears and quibbles
What you don't see is more than what you get
Long Story short