Cafe Fluid – Music Review

cafe fluidTrue to its title, Heartflute is indeed a heart-rending composition dominated by Naveen‘s flute, the pathos element conveyed impeccably by the flautist. Naveen also does a commendable job on the arrangement front, though there is a seeming Rahman influence in places (I m not ruling out the possibility of that being due to a similarity in the raga, which I believe is Charukeshi). Naveen succeeds in giving that authentic Malayali touch to Sinbad Vs Kerala in the selection of raga (Anandabhairavi??) and the orchestration, though I sorely missed a chenda in the background to complete matters. The sparring between Rajhesh Vaidya and Naveen is the high point of Indofusion, Rajhesh emerging a clear winner. The song sees smatterings of folk, jazz and Arabic elements garnishing the classical base.

Naveen‘s Middle East obsession continues in the title track as well, where he spins out a perfect lounge number infusing Arabic and classical tunes. Tranceflute, as in the name, sees a fusion of electronic trance elements and Naveen’s classical ad-libs. Despite Naveen‘s innovativeness in the arrangement however, this song doesn’t capture your interest for long. The flute bits are entertaining but the electronic background sort of kills it. More Arabic follows with Bellyflute which is another flute-led track. Don’t know if its just me but the arrangement of this song sounded more filmy than world music to me in many places! Celtic music is always a delight to listen to, and with Naveen‘s brilliant execution Uillean Pipes Song is an absolute beauty! The racy rhythm, the strings arrangement, and above all Naveen on the Uillean pipe – you cannot sit without tapping your feet to this one! He then follows it up with another magnificently delectable track set to folksy beats in Desh raga called Fantasyflute. Naveen totally cuts loose in this one, presenting various nuances of Desh with panache, Rajhesh Vaidya giving perfect backing on the veena. Taking no credit off Naveen, I got reminded of Baje Sargam on listening to some parts.

Bombay Doves sees a carnatic-jazz fusion, the former being handled by Naveen and Selvaganesh with his kanjira, while the jazz portion is taken up by Louiz Banks on the synth. Selvaganesh does a fab job as usual, while Louiz Banks’ ad-libbing, though good on its own, doesn’t seem to quite fit into this piece. Nevertheless the song is engaging due to the carnatic part, Naveen and Selvaganesh literally go berserk towards the end! Next is a revisit to the title track of his debut album Fluid, marked by Sivamani‘s percussional brilliance. Nevertheless if I had to feature a track from Fluid I would any day have chosen Mohanam. And in the end there is Never Say Goodbye, Naveen choosing SEL instead of Rahman this time to do an instrumental version of KANK title track. While he does a good job employing a flute-violin combo to replace the vocals in this case, I would still rate Never Say.. lower than the original track. The soulfulness that defined KANK has been traded for classicalisation, I felt.

With 9 totally original and mostly superior tracks as compared to the 6 originals of his debut album, Naveen has definitely grown as a composer from Fluid to Cafe Fluid. And absolutely no words for Uillean Pipes and Fantasyflute. They make the entire sountrack worthwhile!
MusicAloud Rating: 8/10
Recommended Tracks: Uillean Pipes Song, Fantasyflute, Sinbad Vs. Kerala, Cafe Fluid

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TomPier says:

great post as usual!