If you approach listening to an album without expectations, the results can be refreshingly pleasant. That's exactly what has happened with Kabul Express. Twenty something musician-singer-turned-composer Raghav Sachar surprises with his superb range and a brilliant musically thinking mind. One of the most notable aspect about this album is that it's not your usual filmy soundtrack. Instead, it carries a feel of a private album with terrific production values. The three versions of Banjar are diametrically opposite and yet appealing, Kabul Fiza carries a magical remix edition apart from a so-so instrumental version Kabul Fiza Theme. Of course the original Kabul Fiza is a treat and a great song to start the album with. Raghav displays his Richard Marx like singing vocals in Keh Raha Mera Dil while Kabul Express Theme and Yeh Main Aaya Kahaan Hoon are fine numbers too. In all, it's the birth of a new age music composer who can also play wind instruments like a dream. It's a sure shot buy.
Clarinet like a breath of winter air in a war torn desert makes a perfect start for the stunning Kabul Fiza. The moment the tempo picks up the momentum in this east-meets-west number you can realize that this one's special. In fact the whole song has been designed in a very western format, specially the harmonies. It follows a hemispherical graph. For it starts from a somber note, touches the heights of intensity and then returns to where it starts from (Clarinet melody buries itself in the sands of time). Raghav Sachar excels in terms of putting together a wonderful composition. My only grouse is that maybe he shouldn't have sung this song. Kabul Fiza requires a more mature voice, especially when it has that element of spirituality and the tabla beats thrown in the middle. A fascinating experience nevertheless.
The Kabul Fiza Theme Instrumental has a laidback feel to it with the clarinet melody dominating the scene. An easy-on-ears rhythm loop dots the entire composition and is peppered with clap sounds at a few places. It's a good instrumental piece but lacks the intensity of the song. The Kabul Fiza remix on the other hand not only has an add-on fast paced beat it also has some interesting keyboard chops creating an illuminating feeling on the dance floor. The techno element in this remix has been utilized well. It's a good number to play loud while driving down to Goa on a weekend.
After three different versions of Kabul Fiza, the second song Banjar also has three separate versions. The first one has been sung by Shubha Mudgal in her characteristic high pitched mode. It's a club house mix number with techno sounds, fast paced rhythm designing and Mudgal's dynamic voice treading into several territories all at the same time. Banjar Lamha Hai...Waqt Banjar Hai...Banjar Waqt Si....Yeh Raat Banjar Hai...Innovative lyrics by Swaratmika Mishra, Aditya Dhar and Vijay Kumar is another plus point of this goose-pimple-evoking song.
Banjar Lounge Mix by Sunidhi Chauhan is drastically different from Shubha Mudgal's version. First of all, hats off to Raghav Sachar for introducing such fabulous production values. If Shubha's version was more fast-paced, Sunidhi takes the slower, soulful look at the whole idea of Banjar. Cutting edge rhythm designing, tantalising jugalbandi between electronic guitar (delightfully high on reverb) and clarinet and Sunidhi's mesmerizing vocal range take this song to a different high altogether. A brilliant composition!
Banjar Revisited by KK is a club mix (Different from Shubha's version) with lots of harmonies, techno sounds and an energizing rhythm progression. The electronic flute piece in the middle is an exhilarating experience which is difficult to be