Tuesday, September 03, 2002

RemixeD Burman

If it isn't obvious already, the late R. D. Burman has been the gravy train for the remix brigade. Be it self-proclaimed fans like Instant Karma (and the overlapping composer clique of Shankar, Ehsan and Loy) or D. J. Aqeel and his questionable taste in videos (Personal note: I have actually found people who liked his phone sex/bondage-laced video for yeh vaada raha cool. I won't even begin to consider the musical damage that he wrought on the song); everyone's cashing in. This is musical necrophilia at its best and most ferocious. Not that the late Pancham (an appellation that has moved from a circle of friends to anyone who has heard of him to anyone who wants to invest in a piece of dead estate) is the only target for these club freaks, but the numbers put him as a clear leader. There were two schools of thought when RDB was among the living. One maintained that he was lucky, plagiarised abundantly, was a pale shadow of his father, the great S. D. Burman, was a terrible singer, lost it in the 80s (which is ironically when he started winning awards) and more bile. The other camp decided to shower adulation and praise on music that was obviously rich in merit and ingenuity, but reserved "his music was ahead of his time", a rather polite comment, for the music that they found difficult to like (as if they were compelled to like everything he churned out!). Based on the argument that his music was ahead of his time, we can clearly conclude that this is a situation much alike a cryogenic deep freeze {ref: The Star Trek TNG episode The Neutral Zone, the vapid Mel Brooks vehicle Forever Young, and Demolition Man}, except that it's the music that's frozen and not the musician (regrets galore).

Music has long fled the scene. What remains is a pure unadulterated desire to rake in the greens. All you need is passable capabilities at only one of the following: singing (you really don't need to have any background or training in art music or Indian classical music), a keen follower of the Late Linda McCartney single-finger keyboard technique, the ability to impose a few guitar chords on any song (be it in a minor key or a major key, you can be the missing link that will unite all music) and yes, not to forget, you need to have good looks and the will to shed all inhibitions and garments for the moolah. Call me nostalgic, call me old-fashioned (research probably provides a dozen reasons for the desire to cling to the past), but I can't stand most of the music dished out right now. The remixes are on top of my list. Sorry, can't subscribe to them. Give me the oldies with all their faults any day, thank you. Money mattered even then, but music still got made.

Related: Cashing in on the R D magic

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