Saturday, July 21, 2007

Cash: the music: it's a gas

[cross-posted on the Passion For Cinema blog]
After the catchy, layered and eminently entertaining Dus Vishal-Shekhar return to toss in tunes for Anubhav Sinha's crime caper Cash. With a mission statement for catchy dance-floor ditties, the duo gleefully turn to their experimental side that gave us adventures like right here right now from BluffMaster!, the title track for Golmaal: Fun Unlimited and the songs of I See You (especially subah subah).

Golmaal's Anushka Manchanda returns to the playful layered Naughty Naughty, a song that seems to take off where that last song ended into a changing palette of moods and rhythms. Although she's the only one credited on the track, the composer duo toss in vocal refrains and bandy questions and responses all over the track. The straight-faced lyrical nonsense mixes trance samples and a strong Dhol beat, tossing in the occasional Dholak for good measure.

The trio return in zaraa bach ke jii and this time everyone gets a singing credit. Thematically this might very well qualify as an alternative title song. The song contains several rapping breaks of various speeds boasting influences from DnB, dancehall and ragamuffin. As far as samples, there are loops and runs on the rabaab, bass loops, synthesized swirls and Dhol-taashe (heck! The song even ends with what sounds like a riff played on the edakka). The melodic fragments use Punjabi lyrics (and Shekhar gets to belt out these sane portions of the song). Vishal and Anuskha handle the rap segments with Vishal indulging in the fast rapping that even embellishes the title track.

Dus lyricist Panchhi Jalonvi's sole contribution to this album raham kare is one of the four songs that Sunidhi Chauhan gets to exercise her vocal prowess on. The music combines a disco vibe and trance with dancehall; Vishal's scatting peppers the breaks in a song that, like zaraa bach ke jii moves away from the familiar mukha.Daa-a.ntaraa song structure.

Mind-blowing maahiyaa deserves an award simply for the most precarious Hinglish blend in a long time (you're my mind-blowing maahiyaa, to be precise). Bellyaches aside, this one and raham kare share common ground with I See You's haalo haalo, although raham kare operates deeper within the soundscape than Mind-blowing maahiyaa does. Sunidhi lends the song the gusto seen in sajanaajii waarii waarii from Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. to a song that is, at some level of intent, a cousin of mummy se naa kahanaa from Chocolate. With a whistle riff (à la subah subah in I See You) and a swirling bass riff, this is the only song without Vishal's toasting.

After having imported hip-hop and dancehall into Hindi film music, Vishal-Shekhar tackle reggaeton with naa puuchh. Atop the riddim comes an Indian-sounding melodic motif and the synthesized bass riff somehow echoes the bass riff in Qurbani's har kisii ko. Into the mix of a familiar mukha.Daa-a.ntaraa structure comes Vishal's manic fast rapping run through overdubs and a vocal break taking off on a boatman's call.

Ironically, as with I See You, my favourite track happens to be the first cut on the album, which, in this case, is also the track that seems destined to run with the opening credits. In addition to suspected substance abuse, Vishal-Shekhar had Misirlou and Dick Dale and perhaps even Dame Un Kiss by Franco "El Gorilla" on their minds while swimming in the sea of their usual dancehall and hip-hop influences. The track's brass lead-in gives way via an alveolar trill to a fast circular staccato electric guitar lick. Vishal starts off first, followed by the versatile Sunidhi backed by samples of car horns and a descending surf guitar riff sends the microphone to Shekhar to deliver the first melodically regular segment of the song. The alveolar trill becomes a motif of rendition, showing up prominently in Sunidhi's a.ntaraa. In the punchbowl of percussion, car horns, the guitar riff and vocal exhortations (including invocations of the film's title) comes a sample "Visual 8128.78; This should be played at high volume ... preferably in a residential area": The second part is a sample from the introduction to Lyrical Gangbang on Dr. Dre's influential album The Chronic. The first is most likely a reference to the name of a track by Physical Motion (Coincidentally, that's also the stardate, according to ST3, when a dying Spock asks if the ship is out of danger). There's another sound sample that Vishal trades vocals, but I'm not sure where that comes from. If you're listening to this track on heaphones, there's even (unless I'm hearing things) what sounds like a child humming along as Sunidhi reprises the lines of the first a.ntaraa near the 3:22 mark.

An extended mix of the title track closes the album: in this version the overall volume goes up, the surf guitar lick gets phased and multi-tracked, the trills are enhanced and the soundscape is peppered with more breaks and slower arrangements; all this makes the cut less immediate than the original.

Lyrics are included in the CD sleeve in case you want to decipher all that spitting on the album, but zaraa bach ke jii ... they don't get them quite right (all wrapped around the finger becomes the egregious all wrapped around there[sic] fingers).

As with Dus, the soundtrack might be the best part of the package; with a cast roster that includes the likes of Suniel Shetty, Zayed Khan and Esha Deol, would it be an act of unfathomable optimism to expect a coherent entertaining film?

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