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Review

Master lost in synth foliage

Does a ghazal master like Ghulam Ali need all those simulated sounds in the background?

Madhosh
T Series
Rs 50

The voice is gold, as always. But the orchestra is tinsel.

The beauty of Ghulam Ali's albums lies in the natural tones they offer. The accompaniment is usually made up of a tabla and a harmonium, or, as in the classic albums he made with Asha Bhonsle, tastefully done with acoustic instruments like the flute, guitar and the violin. Don't expect that sort of class in Madhosh, Ghulam Ali's just released album.

Madhosh is marred by a keyboard background that simulates the flute, sax, trumpet and many other instruments. Take Raks karti hai faza, a tune that has trademark Ghulam Ali graces, but a rap beat and the simulated sax spoil it all.

Jab kabhi saqiye borrows phrases from raga Tilak Kamod, and is like a bhajan in its melodic and rhythmic orientation, but it is too fast paced for the master to explore the raga or the ghazal.

The tune I liked best opens B side: Mera jazbe mohabbat kam na hoga. It is not free from programmed drums and the synth, but the piano tone doesn't spoil the song as much as other simulated ones. Tujhe kya khabar mere humsafar is vintage Ghulam Ali, who chooses his favourite tala rupak, and sings phrases adapted from raga Malkuans, but it's again ruined by synthetic sounds in the interludes.

The tunes are Ghulam Ali's own, and the words are by Sant Darshan Singh.

I don't recommend this album. My favourite ghazal singer doesn't need artificial violins in the background. All the sounds in the background distract me from his deep, expressive voice, and the poetry. Save the programmed drums and your synth gimmicks for pop debutants. Give me the master any day with just a harmonium and tabla. Or if you'd like to give me a bonus, add a sarangi.

R Qaiser

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