Categories
Internet Technology

Google India Comes Up With Music Service With Search

Finally, Google has also jumped into the music-bandwagon! Google India today launched Google Music India – a fully-blown music streaming service.

The Google Music home page with album listings.

The service, which was launched earlier today under ‘Google India Labs’, is available at http://www.google.co.in/music and is accessible by users all across the world.

Google Music is pretty-impressive – especially the search part. Existing streaming services like Raaga and MusicIndiaOnline have appalling search – and that’s where Google‘s service scores. The search feature is quite comprehensive. You can search with the movie name, the lead actor’s name (e.g. a search for ‘Shah Rukh Khan’ lists songs from his movies), songs according to time period, and what not. You can even use complex queries to find out Guru Dutt track from your childhood that you’ve so badly wanted to catch up with, using some smart search queries.

Fresh from watching the movie, I badly wanted to listen to the songs. Lo and behold, Google comes to my rescue.

The service does not use a native ‘Google‘ player, neither does it host tracks in its server. The songs are sourced from ‘Saavn.com’, ‘Saregama’ and ‘in.com’, says the Google India Blog. Users can choose the player of their choice, for some songs.. The audio quality is decent. ‘Saregama’ and ‘in.com’ players do a good job, while the ‘Saavn’ player quite buggy. The streaming works well in a 2 Mbps+ connection, but the songs stutter in 256Kbps. Another drawback is that the service does not offer playlists.

Currently, Google Music has a comprehensive collection of Bollywood. Tamil, Malayalam, and other regional tracks are yet to make it.

The service is fully legal – since it offers just streaming and not downloading. It is a successor to Google‘s music search service in the US – which offered search and previews of tracks.

Google has also launched its new music service in China.

The extent of Google Music’s success is doubtful since India has a strong ‘downloading culture’. Users prefer downloading songs rather than listening to audio streams online – they would still opt for pirated tracks available for download.  Another major con would be the slow internet connections in the country – the service needs at least 256Kbps (or above) for smooth playback. Besides, a bulk of India’s internet users use internet plans with data-transfer caps – such users would give this service a miss, in all probability. Then again, Google will have to tackle many established players like Raaga.com and MusicIndiaOnline.

However, the service is a boon for all music addicts. Foraging for that long-lost-track, can now be done in just a click. Enjoy! 🙂

Categories
Musings Song

Tribute to M.G. Radhakrishnan

It’s been a week since the demise of Malayalam music director M.G. Radhakrishnan.

Image Courtesy: mathrubhumi.com

Brother to singer M.G. Sreekumar, Radhakrishnan was a stalwart in the Malayalam Music scene. His tracks had the simplest of tunes. Yet, they would capture every bit of your aural presence and take you to another level. The down-to-earth music director started-off composing music for the All India Radio. After the success of many songs he pioneered for the radio (including a popular radio show teaching music for listeners), he was invited to do the music for the Malayalam movie ‘thampu’. Soon, offers came pouring in, and Radhakrishnan churned out mellifluous tunes for many movies including ‘Manichitrathazhu‘, ‘Agnidevan’, ‘Devasuram‘, ‘Advaitham’, ‘Ananthabhadram‘, et al. He’s bagged the state award twice for ‘Achaneyanenikkishtam’ and ‘Ananthabhadram‘.

I’ve forever been a fan of the musical maestro. I find immense solace in some of his tracks, in times of despair. My favourite MG track is ‘Sooryakireedom‘ from Devasuram – a haunting song that talks about the transcience of death and the uncertainity of life. The news of M.G’s death came a day late to me. M.G. is one of my favorite Music Directors, right after Raveendran. I actually had plans to interview M.G. for the papers, and a friend had even given me his contacts. In that context, the news of his demise pinned me down with despair and shock.

I could not help but offer my tributes to the maestro who has continue to amaze me with his tracks. Here’s my cover a favourite M.G. Track.

Song Name: Vande Mukunda Hare.

Movie: Devasuram (1992)

Singer: M.G. Radhakrishnan

Vande Mukunda Hare | Music Codes

The video of this song has Oduvil Unnikrishnan‘s character (Peringodan Shankara Marar) bids his adieu to buddy Mangalasseri Neelakantan (Mohanlal) – A feudal landlord,who stands wounded and decapitated after an ambush. Marar can’t bear the sight of watching his once-healthy mate now in tatters. The lyrics of the song make references to mythology: Kuchela is bidding goodbye to Lord Krishna, who meets death by a stray arrow after the destruction of Dwarka.

Rest in peace, Radhakrishnan Sir. I know I haven’t done justice to your original rendering, but I’ve tried my best here. We’ll miss you! 🙁

Categories
Musings Song

Papa kehte hain, bada naam karega!

Last night, I was pursuing some long procrastinated work. The job was quite tedious and I had to sit up late into the night to get it done. As always, Amarok was blaring my favourite songs through my Creative 4.1, while I worked away. I’m in love with the Amarok shuffle algorithm – it beats the shits out of every other audio player in the market, even iPod/iTunes player, for that matter. My recently acquired the habit of putting all songs on shuffle comes from using Amarok – the song selection is eclectic in the best possible way. Hats-off to the community for the brilliant work on the music player! 🙂

It was roughly 2 AM in the morning, and I still had miles to go before I sleep. 😐 Nevertheless, I saved my files, switched off the monitor and flopped onto my bed, with music still on – albeit in low volume. It was time to call it a day. The ending notes of “Wish you were here” were fading away, probably taking cue from my sleep-deprived eyes. I’d almost slipped away into the valley of deep slumber when the Floyd song had concluded.

That was when Amarok decided to do a back-flip.

The psychedelic notes of Floyd gradually crossfaded to early-nineties jazz beats – complete with trumpets. Any Floyd fan would die for an encore of the favourite track – hence, the crossfade proved jarring to my ears. Enraged, I woke up with a start and rushed to the keyboard to plus the “Ctrl+V” shortcut for the next song.

I stopped, midway.

The jazz beats gave strong deja vu. The trumpets, the generous use of nineties’-electronic guitar; it was one song I thought I’d never forget – yet, I couldn’t place it fully. I sat down on the bed, as my head lowered itself involuntarily, as my mind raced through the portals of my long-term memory, in search of the track. (I could easily have walked upto the monitor and switched it on to check the track out, but somehow, I didn’t.)  That was when the jazz beats paused momentarily, and a resounding male voice ensued.

The same voice that muttered “Aal izz well!” – the voice of Aamir Khan! I listened in silent recognition, involuntarily smiling in the process, as I listened to Aamir’s (famous) monologue from his debut-movie “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak”:

Doston (Friends),

Aaj college ka aakhri din hai, (Today’s the last day of college)
aur aane waale zindagi ke liye sabhi ne kuch na kuch soch rakha hai. (And all of you would’ve thought what to do with the rest of your lives.)
Lekin maine apne liye kuch nahin socha hai! (But I haven’t done that!)
No, really I mean it.
Aur aaj, aaj mujhe baar baar, ek hi khayaal aa raha hai… (And today… Today, I this thought repeatedly comes back to my mind…)

As Udit Narayan‘s voice took over from Aamir to sing the rest of “Papa kehte hai bada naam karega…” (My dad’s told me that I’d be famous.) – I couldn’t help lip-sync and sing the entire song, prancing about the room – in elation and goosebumps!

As the song concluded, I realized that I was smiling incessantly. I felt so ironic and overjoyed. Turns out that even I’m at the fag end of my college life, and I’m still at crossroads regarding what to do with the rest of my life, while the people around me have more or less zeroed in on their futures.

And the best part is, there used to be a time, I emphasize, there USED TO be a time, when my ‘Papa’ used to constantly reassure me that I’d have a “bada naam” in life! 🙂

Not having a clue about life used to bug me big time – it used to inculcate this huge wave of depression in me. Having already chosen the wrong career option three years back, and struggling to escape from it, I couldn’t make another mistake with my life – this fact used to plague me badly. Constant thoughts about careers barraged my mind with needless anxiety and I was confused. Even though I’d reached an interim conclusion about the career that I’d (hopefully) be pursuing post-B.Tech, the daunting task of preparing myself for it still scares me – considering the fact that I’m a habitual procrastinator afflicted by the ‘lazybones-syndrome’.

But this song, made the confusion seem ‘fashionable’ and actually inspiring. The first stanza of the song literal translates to: “My dad reassures me that I’d do well in life, but I’ve no clue where I’d end up.” But unlike Aamir Khan, I don’t have an inspired, teary-eyed dad watching his happy-go-lucky son sing glory about his long lost father’s belief in his capabilities. In my case, well, circumstances (many of which were self-made) made my dad openly retract his assurances, which is the worst thing a dejected son/daughter could get. But the song kindled sweet, long-lost memories of doting-praise and patient, endearing-encouragement – I got my much-needed recharge! 🙂

Perhaps, my dad was watching at a singing-dancing me through my room door’s peephole, silently-inspired, with tears welling in his eyes!! 😀

P.S.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives,
Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

From Baz Luhrman‘s Sunscreen

Categories
College Engineering Review

New Talent: The Latest Pirates and Synth

It’s not everyday that you get to see the flashes of innate talent that amaze you beyond conventional benchmarks of surprise! You aren’t just blown away by amazing feats of passion and paragon – you stand stupefied and dumbfound at such wondrous talent closer to genius and perfection, and that too from 20-21 year olds!

It so happens that some of my best buddies have come up with such magnanimous works of art that I couldn’t help, but blog about ’em! These kids are of my age. And all of them in their final year of engineering at the esteemed College of Engineering, Trivandrum. You can’t call them novices or amateur’s. With their maiden works of art, they’ve literally had the entire town talking about them…

Without further ado, let me present before you – The Latest Pirates and Synth!

The Latest Pirates

Six spirited Electrical Engineering students – Harisankar SA, Chaitin, Dileep, Shivan, Sidharth and ‘Ponni’ (I don’t know this dude’s real name. Or rather, no one does! :P) a.k.a. Arun A, made quite an impact with their ‘Pinneyum Palavattam‘. With a bang, they’ve come up with another pioneering adaptation of the “Unnam Marannu” song from ‘In harihar nagar’. The entire song is remastered and fully re-scripted with College of Engineering, Trivandrum (and the entire city of Trivandrum), being the background. The video is very cheekily titled – In Engineering College.

Trust me, one look and you’ll concur. It’s SO MIND-BLOWINGLY AWESOME!

Even professional comedians from TV would find it hard to match up to their perfection. Kudos, guys! 🙂

Check out more videos from these pirates at: http://thelatestpirates.jimdo.com/

Synth

Synth was the brainchild of a coterie of music lovers from CET. Subu, Anand, Sandeep, JK and Navaneeth, with help from Minu, Rameshwar, Jishnu and Anand, released their maiden album. Haunting themes, mellifluous voices and fantastic songs. One attempt at listening to any one of their tracks and you’d totally fall in love with ’em all. Another fantastic band, which has already drawn rave reviews from all over town!

Here’s a track from Synth:

Synth | Upload Music

Check out Synth at http://synthmusic.jimdo.com/

Feel free to promote the work of these young artists! 🙂