A short detour before the 2nd of part of Kanakku vs. Sarvalaghu in Carnatic Music. But this one is related to it.

When I was analyzing that “rhythmically complex” piece by T.N. Seshagopalan featured in that post, I was trying various different ways of confirming my analysis that the rhythm of that piece was a 5-based one. As I had indicated in that post, I was having a hard time doing this since (a) I found the rhythm “non-intuitive” and complex and (b)  I always struggled with rhythmic aspects of carnatic music more compared with the melodic aspects (guessing ragas, figuring out swaras etc.).

One of the methods I tried was to use Garageband on the mac to recreate the tune, set to the same tempo as the original so that it syncs with it. This way, I can find out the correct “lengths” of each note which would confirm if it is a 5-based rhythm or really a unique use of 4-based rhythm or something else.

When doing so, pne time,  just for kicks, I assigned a distortion heavy electic guitar as the MIDI instrument to my recreation of the tune – and wow! I was stunned by the effect!!!  I thought This just rocks!!.  So one thing led to another and eventually to the end-result below.

A few heads ups that you should read before you listen to the piece.

  • I have used some “artistic liberties” here to present a “situation”. Someone (say me 😉 )  hears the original carnatic tune on a radio, the tune getting stuck in their head (this definitely happened to me), resulting in what follows. That is why at the start, you have the original carnatic snippet albeit with some “radio” disturbance, as well as some strange echoing i.e. the tune swimming all over someone’s head as they tossed in their sleep (no comment!).
  • A good headphones is the best way to get the full effect! And full, maximum volume is certainly mandatory!!
  • It is basically just one riff, one tune, repeated pretty much throughout but in different textures – carrying different energy level. And given that it is 4:30 long, it may seem like overkill, and probably is 😉 !!  But that is a reflection of how much the tune filled in my hand (that I just had to “get it out”!).
  • For those carnatic fans amongst you, the end tune has no resemblance to carnatic  because it was not intended to be so. I made no attempt to even try to introduce even a touch of it since I liked the rocking nature of the riff as such and just ran with it.

And oh-yes – “Five on Eight” is a play on words – can you see it?

Thanks to T. N. Seshagopalan and other artists for being the creative inspiration behind this.

And thanks to “vk” for being the guinea pig ;-)!!