So Far so good – A/J – 2010

Right. So here is the first time we have reviewed a fusion recording by an Indian artist. Strange? You bet. I myself was surprised that while I have reviewed fusion music with a proper Indian bent (Jonas Hellborg), all the Indian artists we had reviewed were in fact, in Indian rock! Anyway, I think this might just turn out to be something great, owing to the- shall we say serendipitous- circumstances through which I found out about this music. A/J, the brainchild behind this project, is based in the fair city of Bangalore. He juggles his fast paced lifestyle as a marketing executive and as a musician. An inspiring thing, no doubt, and something I hope I can follow myself someday.

So, what he have here is a full on fusion record, that doesn’t really seem to lean on any particular genre, while drawing equally (and equally effectively) from a whole host of genres. So I’ve heard in the course of this recording, Indian beats (“Feelin’ Blue), rock beats, blues-rock (“Derailed”), jazz guitar flourishes (“So far so good”)….the works. That’s a fairly wide range of genres to draw from – and even notwithstanding the individual merits of the songs- I can tell you that A/J straddles multiple genres effortlessly. Never once do the transgressions sound contrived.

A/J straddles multiple genres effortlessly. Never once do the transgressions sound contrived.

Right, on to the individual songs, then. The first song “Feelin’ Blue” leaves quite a strong impression to begin with, what with spacey guitar and a really strong tabla/bass rhythm that actually defines the song. It has a world/lounge music like feel to it, which is something that is repeatedly felt in certain tracks through the album. No bad thing, mind you.

I’d do away with the sound effects at the beginning of “The Journey Begins”, which are a bit too obviously sampled keyboard patches. They slightly mar what is otherwise essentially a soaring guitar anthem. Cue major high-pitched harmonics, which are quite unlike most of the fat-man-stepping-on-screeching-cat notes as is the wont of most Indian guitar players. Here they are crystal clear. Piercing. Excellent. This bloke knows how to play. It’s very heartening to see a Jeff Beck-like emphasis on tone and dynamics over wank-assery.
“Jaisalmer” is certainly one of the best songs on this album. It’s exotic minor/phrygian sounding, sexy and with a big rock tone to top it off. Yet more wonderfulness, I see. The screamery is epic.

The mixing of the album is very open and allows space for other instruments, especially drums. I’ve always been a great fan of an open and spacious sound to albums, which allows the sounds to breathe. Alas, at places I feel the bass-player’s curse haunting me, like the slightly low mixing on “So far so good”. So the great bass playing by A/J is a vague-ish pulse in the background. It’s still a good song though, not in the least because of the Jazzy influences on the guitar playing.

Faults, you ask? Well, I can only think of one fault. I do miss the presence of musical leitmotifs, or repetitive hooks. I’d like a bit more of those on the next album (which after such a debut is inevitable). Other than that, I have no real criticisms. This sounds right.

-El Bajista

See more about A/J at this website HERE.

For more FUSION reviews, go HERE.


11 thoughts on “So Far so good – A/J – 2010

  1. Reads great. Checked out the music as well. Great to know about music sounds and flows naturally. I think you missed out on the elements of the moods and emotional impact that the music creates. Come to think of it, the soaring dark mood on the journey begins is inexplicable. This album is a must buy!

  2. Great reviews here. You missed two tracks Mady’s tune and Blue Sky. Personally I prefer AJ’s version to even the original. Spaced out play man.

  3. Hey this is a nice review. I wonder how he allowed himself to be called marketing executive tho! if only you guys knew what he’s like at work…

    • Hey Rags and Arnab. Great to have you guys around, do come more often, and suggest things to be reviewed.
      @ Arnab – I didn’t miss the two tracks…just that we prefer to give viewers a general idea of the whole sound of the album along with certain standout songs that appealed to the reviewed. That doesnt mean the other two tracks were average….infact, I havent heard the allman original, but this one was quite good anyway.
      @Rags- heheh. Well I dont know how he is at work. I just tried to sum up what I saw!


      El Bajista

  4. el bajista! that’s a whacko name dude!!!! marketing exec!!! wow! the chaps a marketing genius not a @#*@# exec. the music is fantastic, good review. i think you guys would probably do better by doing an interview with the dude. this chaps got searing insights.

  5. Hey this reviews pretty good. Like the writing style. The blog needs a bit of organising tho. Its too loaded. guys you can check out some other blogs which are kinda inviting people to find stuff. this blog i found quite cool check it out… http://harinair.wordpress.com/

    • Hey man. sorry for the long response time. i was quite tied up.
      Anyway, the one major thing that I saw in that sample blog you sent was that the entries were collapsed, making for easier scrolling.

      Is there anything else you could suggest? I would be happy to get suggestions.

      Also, if you would like us to review anything (anything), do drop me a line, and I’ll be sure to review that album of your liking.

  6. don’t know if you’ve heard the album, but its an awesome prog rock album called “wingful of eyes” by a band called gong… check it out and post a review if you can. cheers.

  7. Pingback: promo-> A/J – COLORS « thatdoesntsoundright

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