Record Label: Moviebox Records
Release Date: October 2009
No of Tracks: 11
It’s been a fairly timid year for Bhangra, so much so, I’ve even lost my appetite to review any albums. Looking back, I’ve never really approached an album release by an ‘MC’ with any real enthusiasm or positivity, yet I was looking forward to the new release by The Dark MC, purely on the basis that he had delivered a fairly unique sound on his previous album, think back to the track ‘Dushmani’.
Fast forward exactly two years and he has released his sophomore release titled ‘Incisive’ alongside his cousin and production partner ‘Angel’, who can be accredited for much of the material on the album. ‘Incisive’ features an eclectic line up vocals, with established names such as Nirmal Sidhu, Labh Janjua, Jaswinder Daghamia & the late Kaka Bhaniawala. Alongside these established we have newcomers such as Jevi, Taqdeer Singh, Baboo and lyricist turned vocalist; Bhindi Laltonwala.
The album blasts off with ‘Chori Chori Takhna’ sung by Jaswinder Daghamia, who is already riding high since the release of his debut solo album earlier this year. Sometimes you get amazing intros, but then the song turns out to be a complete dud; very rarely does everything fall perfectly into place. But this song does. Soothed by epic strings, enigmatic synths and the the vocals of Jaswinder Daghamia, Chori Chori Takhna roars into an explosion of pure energy. The beauty of this song is that it literally gets better with every listen, on a first listen I passed it off, thinking it lacked an ‘umph’, but as time went on, the subtle production approach employed by Dark MC proves that not every song needs a million things going on to make it work. The lack of any real heavy percussion gives the impression that this song has been ‘under produced’. I admit, I was wrong about this song. The production by Dark MC and Angel is simply on another level to a lot of what I’ve heard this year. Forget ghost production talk, this is original music. Special mention to Bhindi Laltonwala for the top lyrics. It’s hard to follow up on Dushmani, but Chori Chori is honestly going to turn into the bigger song and it’s already doing the damage on dancefloors across the UK. Epic track.
Once I find my way past Chori Chori Takhna, we move onto ‘Punjabian Da Dhol Vajde’ which has been sung by Baboo. Much like Chori chori, it’s on a darker production tip; however has a heavier dhol presence. The bass heavy track is fairly straight forward, with Baboo giving a good vocal effort. It’s not the greatest song in the world, but it’s not the worst effort either.
After the monster collaboration last time around on ‘Dushmani’ Dark MC teams up with the late Kaka Bhaniawala again for the song “Kaliyan”. It would be unfair to compare this song to Dushmani, but if you recognise this song as it’s own entity, then it’s a brilliantly made song. The ‘dark’ and ‘moody’ theme continues, with Dark MC and Angel delivering a thundering bassline alongside some unorthodox pieces of music, makes this song, like everything so far before it, completely different. For me, that’s a positive thing for any artist to maintain. Originality.
Nirmal Sidhu is on hand for “Tere Nakhre (Club Version)”, after a pretty standard intro, the song kicks into life. A powerful string selection lifts the song onto another level, as Nirmal Sidhu delivers a typically high level vocal performance. The epic build up to each chorus helps deliver a song as original as I’ve ever heard in the Bhangra scene. It takes a few listens to grow on you, but once it does you’ll be admiring the high class production. It’s one of my favourites off the album. As soon as you think the song is over, it goes into an extraordinary instrumental piece which further goes to highlights just the high and original level of production we are seeing. The instrumental alone wouldn’t feel out of place on a movie soundtrack..
After four hard hitting songs, ‘Dasi Ni Dasi’ offers a welcome dose of versatility on the album. The vocalist on this song is Jevi, who we have featured on the website (click here for more info). He is set to become a big star on the album, and his vocals do have a real cutting edge to them. The production follows on from where the other songs left off, Angel is accredited as the sole producer on this track. It’s a real laid back song and offeres a different side to the fusion filled production style of the duo. Another catchy song
Dark MC returns to production duties alongside Da Wizard on the track “Nachdi Morni” which features the vocals of Labh Janjua. Incidentally for those wondering who Da Wizard is, he featured on the recent XS Bass album as a co-producer. We see Dark MC on the mic for the first time and he does a very good job. The whole vibe of this track is again going in another direction; with the production really having a unique element. It’s not a typical sound, so it’s probably passed off as ‘shit’ by those who have been accustomed to gormless production over the years. I just find this song refreshingly brilliant.
Baboo returns on the vocals for “Baarah Borh Di” which was one of the first promos released for the album back in may. Dark MC makes another appearance, once again offering a positive input into the song. Compared to previous efforts on the album, Baarah Borh Di is more percussion heavy, relying heavily on traditional elements, which fit in well with the lyrics of the song.
“Aaja Nachle” is up next and is sung by another unknown singer; Taqdeer Singh. This is probably one of the weakest songs on the album, in terms of all round cohesion between production, vocals and lyrics. For me the song just doesn’t fit well, and is one of few let downs so far.
The first of two remixes is next, first up it’s “Tere Nakhre De (traditional mix)”, as the name suggests, this is a more straight forward desi mix of the club version we see earlier in the album. It’s a more toned down version of the club mix, and lacks the rawness in both strings and overall feeling we had in the club version. It’s a good mix for those who like their music in a linear fashion. It’s a good variant, but the club mix for me.
Bhindi Laltonwala has been in the scene for many years now, working behind the scenes quietly, and indeed he has been responsible for all the lyrics on this album, which is an impressive feat in itself. “Pataya Bottle Ne” sees Bhindi Laltonwala step forward as a vocalist for the first time. Compared to dark and moody presence on much of the album, pateya bottle ne delivers a light hearted track, with a more traditional vibe on the production. It’s also one of my favourites on the album, another top tune.
The album is completed with “Chori Chori Taka Remix”, which sees Dark MC team up with Da Wizard again, who seems to have injected his magic onto this track. Where the original was at a slower tempo and more subtle, the bpm is ramped up and you’re taken on a house refix. Like much of this album, it’s a sound that’s not really been explored by the industry, it makes a refreshing approach, if not a brave move.
This album for me represents everything that is positive with the industry. The Dark MC & Angel have brushed away the tired old loops, melodies and ideas that have engulfed Bhangra for the past few years. As I’ve mentioned previously, the album is filled with originality and a bold unique approach to making music.
But on the other hand, apart from Chori Chori Takhna, much of the album will not get appreciated, songs like tere nakhre ne, nachdi morni, dasi ni dasi will be left aside, as they do not seem to match the pre-fixed criteria that has been created in Bhangra.
The album is nowhere near a perfect, finished article. Indeed it does sound raw and unpolished in many parts, but let that not detract away from the overall sound it portrays. A sound that was NOT created in frantic studios, a sound that was not made from sag loops 4 and a sound that was most definitely not influenced by the fickle, un-ambitious consumer of today.
Fair play to Dark MC, he had the balls to make music his own way, and he is reaping the rewards.
The Dark MC – Incisive gets a 7.8/10