All posts by Jatin B

Irreverent gypsy boy, currently residing in Bangalore, likes a good laugh, beer and interesting company, the order of preference changes according to the time of day! Still meandering through life, trying to avoid pitfalls including chaste women, irrate bosses and the moral police.

THE BETTER ELECTRO & DEEP HOUSE REMIXES OF SONGS WE KNOW Part Deux

So I lied. I thought I would add some Hip-Hop remixes but found a bunch of decent rock/pop remixes done well. Most of them are from the golden age of the 80’s, because we ALL know that the best music is from the “Eighties”, though they are some stretching a wee bit back and some into this century as well. Continuing a tradition, maybe not since a tradition cannot be one post old, here are five more of some great remixes, with a nostalgic twist. Enjoy…

White Wedding by Billy Idol remixed by Virgin Magnetic Material

Billy Idol was big, kind of like an idol! Massive actually in the UK and relatively well-known in the US. This number was part of his self titled album in 1982, called surprise surprise ‘Billy Idol’. The remix has taken a catchy number and elevated it. Starting off slow and then hitting us with Idol’s deep-throated vocals it stays true to the original, remixing it with just the right amount of tweak. I haven’t heard much of VMM, but maybe its time or it’s truly a ‘nice day to start again’.

Hotel California by The Eagles remixed by Pied Piper Progressive 2012

So it had to come to this. Take one of the most famous tracks of all time, I’m sure even the Guju Aunty in Surat knows this one and remix it in a trippy way, which actually works. Hotel California is a song from the Eagles’ self- titled album released as a single on February 1977. The original is pretty much almost perfect, the lyrics being interpreted in about 1245 different ways be legions of fans and music critics. My interpretation is pretty straight forward, it’s the spiral into a drug induced life. No sorry, it’s about being trapped in purgatory. No sorry, its..never mind, interpret it any way you want or stick with what the band said, its about “The high life in Los Angeles”. Right. This particular remix stays close to the original, just adds a bit of chill into the mix.

Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees remixed by K Theory & TYR

My most unfavorite uncle once said that music was ruined forever by the advent of Disco, and specifically by the Bee Gees. Even if he was partly right, because he was really  an extremely opinionated man I chose not to agree. Stayin’ Alive burst into the scene along with John Travolta on the soundtrack of ‘Saturday Night Fever’ in 1977, and the world was never the same. Remixing a 140 bpm song from the past for now is not easy but they have truly dressed it with an electro beat, some deep bass & some Princesque funk. Might want you to break out the tight white trousers and open 3 buttons on your satiny polyester shirt!

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana remixed by DJs from Mars

From one song that changed music to one band that ushered in alternative rock to mainstream consciousness. Nirvana. And to THIS song, that was in every single mix tape/CD in the 90’s. Lots has been written about the song and what it meant for a MTV generation of youth, beyond all the analysis its an instant classic. Remixing it with an electro twist which kicks in at about 2 minute mark, DJs from Mars have amped it in just the right way. Kurt Cobain’s angst vocals are not messed in, and the guitar riffs don’t recede, the remix is here to “Entertain Us”.

In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins remixed by Vintage Culture

2Pac did it. Nas did it. DMX did it. Eminem referenced to it. That makes it one of the coolest songs from the 80’s, off Phil Collins, ‘Face Value’ 1981 album and one of the better ones to remix. This one takes it in a deeper darker direction, beautifully mixed. The depth and drum beats of the original are overlaid by a cool electro rhythm making it eminently likeable and worth hearing again and again. My favourite of the 5 here.

In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins remixed by Cosmo Black

Bonus: Since I really like In the Air Tonight here’s a more upbeat remix. Move a bit cause this is an almost perfect dance number, remixed flawlessly. Man the 80’s were truly awesome for music!

Will be back with some more..hip hop remixes this time I think. Till then, to quote the quotable, “Can you feel it coming in the air tonight“, too cheesy?

Advertisements

The better Electro & Deep House remixes of songs we know

Hip-Hop artists have used samples of classic songs for years, 2 Pac, Kanye & Jay-Z doing it more successfully than others. Electro & Deep House have not been far behind, putting out some great remixes out there, some bootleg versions, others authorised. While everyone has their favourites, here are five of mine. Enjoy..

State Trooper by Bruce Springsteen remixed by Trentemøller

Pure gold from Trentemøller, remixing one of Springsteen’s earlier hits of his 1982 album ‘Nebraska’. Haunting beats that can be heard over and over, am surprised that more remixes are not out there, Springsteen’s voice lends itself well to deep cuts.

Wicked Games by Chris Issak (Adriatique & Thyladomid Edit)

More than the song I remember the video with Helena Christensen in the nude cavorting on a black and white beach. Surprisingly the video did not move the song up, however it was used in the movie Wild at Heart, which then catapulted it up all the way up the charts. The remix keeps the original melody and just added the right beats to make it here. Good way to ease in to the night.

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You by Led Zeppelin(Quivver Mix ) Paul Oakenfold 

To make yourself really unpopular you take a classic from one of the biggest rock gods out there and…remix it. Except these guys took it to another level – Oakie just owned this one. Kept the original purity there and amped it to the right degree. Trippy all the way, available on the Perfecto Presents Another World – CD 1.

Everything In Its Right Place (Gigamesh Remix) by Radiohead

For every fan there’s a critic of Radiohead. Maybe its a karmic cycle. In this case its hard to find fault with a brilliant remake of their classic from the Kid A album. Certified Platinum, the album broke a host of records, and was Radiohead’s foray into a more electronic sound, which is probably why the remix works so well.

I’m On Fire (Cousin Cole’s Bad Desire Remix) by Bruce Springsteen

Another classic from the Boss, of the Born in the USA album. Not as innocent as it sounds, the lyrics point to a more sinister underage sexual abuse problem more than pure lust. Staying true to the original with just the right amount of continuity & enhancement of the guitar this lends itself well to starting the night off, or enjoying a sunset.

Will be back with some of the hip-hop samplers & remixes, enjoy the music.

Adventures with a Tattoo for the over age…

There comes a time when you do think of getting a tattoo. Sometimes that time is at 18, sometimes at 36. My time came when I was 28, but I acted on it a good decade later. What was the reason? Boredom, angst, change? Probably a combination of all three. Historically every one of my visits to Goa would have one “Lets get a tattoo” day, which never culminated in it. And for good reason; sun, water, alcohol are all not very conducive to getting a tattoo so here’s my advice, don’t do it in Goa regardless of how cool it would sound when you narrate it to your friends. You might end up with one like this…

I chose a studio in Bangalore after considerable research. It’s a place called Skin Deep in Indira Nagar. Modern, comfortable and with a bunch of talented youngsters.

I did think quite deeply of what I wanted. No design involving the devil or anything satanic, nothing as spiritual as one of the gods, no women names for obvious reasons…just a quote from Hamlet which I felt best represented my life situation. I mulled over this for a couple of days and then spent a day thinking where, disregarding the back, arms, legs and my buttocks for various reasons, both personal, pain related & obvious! Eventually I decided on my right rib cage, research pointed to a decent amount of pain but not unbearable.

When I reached the studio I went in and gave them the script which one of the guys showed me how it would look in various fonts on the system. I liked one style, it was printed on thermal paper and then stuck on my rib and I was whisked into the “theatre”. All in all this took not more than five to eight minutes, which meant I did not have time to think or change my mind, which in hindsight was a good thing, I don’t think I would have gone through with it if I had much time to think about it.

In we go, shirt off, alone in a strange room surrounded by prints, tattoo ink, couple of people getting inked, chest, arms, back and a secondary private room where an attractive girl was being inked close to her unmentionables..hence a half ajar door! It never struck me to ask why the door was not shut completely?

My tattoo artist was this young guy from art school who had moved to Bangalore from Pune. Talked to me quite a bit about the process, nonchalantly pulled out fresh needles and got to work. Now the rib cage as per multiple web sites was an area of moderate pain. Moderate pain is now defined for me as a combination of giving birth, being knifed in the gut and hearing Pantera being played repeatedly in the back ground.

The first half hour wasn’t bad, he skirted the ribs and stuck to the periphery. Once he hit the ribs it was pure agony. Not for one hour, not for two hours but for three solid hours. To be fair to him he tried to distract me with conversation, we went through varied topics like alcohol, career, his family, girls, drugs, his future, music…that lasted about half hour. Very tough to speak through clenched teeth and perspiring lips.We took one break. I wanted to use the loo. I actually wanted to take a detour, one that wouldn’t bring me back ever, but better sense prevailed. A Shakespearean quote is always hard to decipher, half a quote is just silly.’This is Sparta’ sent goose bumps down spines, ‘This is Spa’ is the entrance to a Thai massage parlour, not quite inspiring.

By the third hour, the pain was at a constant level, the area had numbed and I was relatively ‘comfortable’. I also took solace in seeing the burly men next door crying in pain, what sissies…though to be fair there tattoo’s were infinitely bigger and more complex. Still. I was given multiple doses of chewing gum, it distracts you. The music was also quite good, rock down the ages. The studio also had a bunch of interesting memorabilia, an old style TV converted to a fish tank, skulls with ink, witty sayings, all in all a good place to feel the most pain ever felt by man.

The last hour was possibly the worst. He did something which he called ‘whitening’ which basically ensured that the ink did not spread and become patchy. My limited understanding of whitening was basically taking hot coal and running it across your fresh raw tattoo for an hour, apparently this is not the scientific definition. The scientific definition is something I still don’t know. I prefer my definition, it is a more accurate representation both scientifically and for the layman. I tried stopping at this time. However convincing a tattoo artist mid way is tougher than getting cows to move in rush hour traffic by honking. “I’m an artist”, “I would not be comfortable”, “You think Da Vinci would have stopped half way through the Mona Lisa because her neck was hurting” were muttered in different tones, this I para phased as “Shut up and sit down you sissy ass man and finish it!”

And then it was done. My tattoo was over and I had managed to not cry, weep or do anything remotely unmanly. Sweating profusely and getting the shakes doesn’t count. The relief washed over me, it literally washed over me since I was sweating so much! Post that the mandatory photo’s, the wrapping of the tattoo in cling film, getting a small brochure on after care, a bottle of neosporin powder, the even more mandatory fist bumps followed by the even more mandatory payment…cash only.

So there it was, my first tattoo. It pains like hell, but its meant too. The rib is apparently extremely painful for a first timer. The web sites that mentioned moderate pain were referring to people who had tattoo’s before and probably looked like this.. not someone like me who looked like this in tattoo years. Post care management was easy, within a couple of hours the redness vanished and within a fortnight it had scabbed over and healed completely. It’s important to remember the following things, shave the area you wish to tattoo or if you’re hairless like me no need, don’t think too much or you might not do it, don’t drink the night before or your blood thins and can ruin the design, man up and complete it, don’t cry and finally..Just Do It!

Tattoo

Movies beyond the Mundane…

One of the perks of the internet is the ability to view life beyond your immediate surroundings, to live vicariously in someone else’s space through a combination of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook etc etc. My favourite remains though the movies, and in the spirit of transporting myself I decided to watch cinema beyond Hollywood, and here’s one of the better ones out there, ‘Salinui Chueok’ or Memories of Murder, a Korean movie.

Film Poster

Based on a true story of the first recorded instance of a serial killer in South Korea, the movie is based in a small village close to Seoul where a series of rape murders start in 1986. These murders carry on for a couple of years during a period of political upheaval & change in the country. Very different from the Hyundai & Samsung driven Korea of today.

Brilliantly shot, the movie tracks the murders and the three policeman looking into it. All three are completely different characters, achingly fleshed out. Detective Park, the slightly arrogant local cop, his partner Cho Yong, a combative aggressive personality & finally Detective Seo who has volunteered for the assignment, coming in from Seoul. The plot is taut & the other characters flit in & out perfectly…the weary police chief, the police woman consigned to serving tea who then creates the connect between the killer & the victims, the reporters uncaring of the consequences, just looking for the big story, the suspects ranging from the mentally unstable to the chillingly calm, the victims, each of them fitting perfectly in the plot.

For a movie that ends up with the case remaining unsolved, it keeps one interested through out. The inter play between the detectives, the local ones attempting to fabricate evidence against suspects who are obviously not the killers & the city cop who uses logic & numbers to try & find the killer. There is an air of irony towards the end where both the detectives change characters & become the other one. The director, Boon Joon-ho has done a marvellous job of scripting an intriguing time, where Korea was on the cusp of it’s industrial glory, still rooted in tradition & agriculture, his closing scenes reflecting the change in Korea & finally in people.

Fields

Like most Korean movies there are strong elements of the macabre & the characters are all real in their actions & emotions, nothing is over the top. As an introduction to world cinema, and more specifically Korean work, this is one of the best to start with.

The Return of the Gin Martini…

My journey starts with one inescapable truth in life, the sun has set somewhere in the world. And that means it is time to get a drink. Not just any drink but one of the classics… I love searching for classic drinks, it is a fun obsession and one that takes you through an intriguing maze of bars, drinking culture and interesting people.

Fine ArtFor the sake of tradition, let’s start with the ubiquitous Martini, not the bastardised version with vodka but one of the 6 original drinks, with gin! An interesting read on this is  The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury. For those really interested one can buy it on www.amazon.com for about `1800 including shipping.

Interesting fact, Martini® is actually a brand name for one of the world’s most visible bottles. Regardless of where one is in the world the chances are you will see a bottle of Martini® on the back-bar. It is essentially a 120-year-old European brand, selling in millions of bottles across Europe and fast becoming one of the largest brands in Russia (Fun reason why Russians are fast adopting it, more on that later) If you are an advertising fan, here is an example of classic Martini® turn of the century work. Martini Poster 1

Martini® is vermouth (dry, extra dry or red), drunk mainly as an apéritif, similar to how we drink tea in India! It is also a key component in the classic Martini and used well gives balance to ensure the drink does not come out too dry. It comes in a couple of varieties, Extra-Dry, Bianco, Rosso etc.

My journey starts in Delhi, not because it is the political capital of India but because I believe Delhi is fast over-taking Bombay in terms of quality of both bars, and drinks. Bombay still has some of the best hotel bars in the country, but cocktail culture is best absorbed in a more intimate, younger environment, which most hotel bars do not provide. Being someone who has drunk all over India at almost all bars, one of the perks of my job, trust me on one thing, you would rather spend time at a buzzing bar than one stuffed with old fogies! On an aside, Delhi has the least amount of bars & retail licenses per square feet/population density. There are approximately 450 odd bars in Delhi, conversely Bombay has over 1800! 

While there are a lot of good bars, the best are those that can consistently serve you a great cocktail, and those are unfortunately rare. It’s time owners realize that we come to bars to enjoy our drinks and there is nothing better than seeing a great stocked bar with the bartenders making classic and modern cocktails. Most bars rarely move beyond whiskies & standard white spirits. Cocktails are normally made with the cheapest spirits available and masked with liberal doses of sweet & sour mixes. That’s the beauty of trying out a Classic Martini, the nature of the drink means it is impossible to make a good one without premium alcohol.

Cary GrantThe Classic Martini has found its way across popular culture in books, movies & music, romanticizing the drink to almost the throne sat upon by champagne! Bolstering the decadence and magic around it are the gentleman who swore by it down the ages, including Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra.
Legend says that if it was not for the Martini, Churchill might not have won the war! Apocryphal quotes abound around the drink including my favorite, One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough”.

The Classic Martini is made from gin, vermouth, with an olive or a twist of lime. Nothing more, nothing less. The dirtier variety is an addition of brine from the olive jar and a couple olives  more. This is the Martini. Gin Martini

The best cocktails in Delhi are made at Smokehouse Grill, Shroom, Shalom, PCO, Setz, Magique, Ricks, Blue Bar & Shiro. Not surprisingly all these bars have experienced managers and forward thinking owners pushing the envelope. So you will find quality brands, interesting infusions and Sake varieties! The glasses are right, drinks are cold, infusions interesting and the flavors and fruits fresh and inviting.

The first stop is Smokehouse Grill at GK-2…I have to admit, I am an unabashed fan. I am not going to delve into the food, which incidentally is among the best meats in town, but stick to talking about the bar. There is a good choice of premium alcohol and some very good wines…it is not rare to see a `50,000 bottle of wine or champagne be popped for an occasion and without the pomp and fuss that one detests in Delhi! What I really like about the bar is the pricing, it’s affordable and it means one doesn’t have to stand around with a bottle of beer in their hands the entire evening. Eclectic mix of people, some extremely pretty women and a couple who are happy to wrap themselves around a couple of the strategic poles placed near the bar post midnight! 

GinsBack to the drink and make sure you get John to make it for you. He’s one of Delhi’s top bartenders and watching him shake and deliver a good cocktail on a busy Friday night in 90 seconds is quite impressive! When you order a Classic Martini make sure you ask for an imported premium gin. Any other gins are essentially spirit with an artificial flavor and should be avoided! Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, Hendricks are the best out there, distilled using botanical’s and original ingredients made at a single source, i.e. one distillery in the world. Coming back to the drink here, its made in the classical style, i.e. stirred NOT shaken! If there is some criticism I have it is that the straining is not perfect and you do find some ice chips in your drink. The other issue is that the martini glasses are bigger than the serving, and for a classic cocktail that is a strict no no. On the flip side the drink is chilled perfectly, which allows the ingredients to mix well…it also means you need to drink your Martini within five minutes or the heat from your hands will start breaking down the ingredients.

Referring to my point on the phenomenal rise of  Martini® in Russia is ironically because most Russian women are drinking bottles of it at nightclubs and parties. It looks elegant, much less kick than vodka or champagne and there is an innate elegance about it. 

monica-bellucci-martini

martini_rosato_jude_law_ad_campaign_advertising_2009_2010

The newest advertising campaign is all about Martini® being the world’s most beautiful drink, and to communicate the messaging they have roped in the gorgeous Monica Belluci & Jude Law to promote the brand. In the past George Clooney & the gorgeous Charlize Theron have worked their magic on television for Martini®, the Clooney campaign is particularly good, a take-off on the golden age of cocktails, with Clooney sporting a Clark Gable mustache with his customary savoirfaire. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81OmtxZHJVA

Continuing my search for great drinks, to quote a classic from Jim Morrison…Take me to the next whisky bar!