Jaimin/ Cutting Loose


Jaimin/ Cutting Loose 

Genre: Folk-rock

Label: Self-released

Rating: *****

In 'She', the seventh song of his debut album Cutting Loose, Kolkata-based Jaimin sings, "She's a graveyard, I asked her the meaning of ashen, she turned into one; She is history, she saw I was hooked up with future, and turned into one". The eight-minute 30-second song is filled with such golden lyrical nuggets that you feel like hearing it repeatedly and absorbing the words and meaning.

The other 13 songs of the hour-long album provide pretty much a similar experience. To talk from personal listening experience, it is one of those recordings that made me carefully listen to the words from the first listen, rather than get straight into the tune, melody or rhythm. Those aspects came after a few replays, when I increasingly realised how intricate and nuanced the orchestration was.

The violin-playing on 'She' is one such example. Then, there are the Dobro slide guitar on 'Bucket Of Pain' and the sitar, piano and saxophone on 'Something Here To Stay', which give them a special identity. The guitar is of course the dominant instrument, with Jaimin and Subharaj Ghosh's acoustic and electric playing telling their own parallel stories, and Arka Chakraborty's piano and synths caressing the backdrop.

The musician credits are given in the image below, and it's interesting to see bassists Rahul Ram and Ralph Pais, guitarist Deepak Castelino and singer Susmit Bose guesting on select tracks. The sound is essentially reminiscent of early 1970s folk-rock. Consciously, subconsciously or by coincidence, the music and lyrical style may be influenced by Bob Dylan, solo Mark Knopfler, Jerry Garcia/ Robert Hunter, CSNY, Nick Drake, James Taylor and Jackson Browne, though those are only wild guesses.

The strength of course lies in the words, and considering that the 31-year-old singer-songwriter has been into music for only eight years, his debut is rather mature. Each song has something to offer, and surprises occur frequently. 

This reviewer's personal favourites, after first hearing 'Bucket Of Pain' and 'She' when released earlier as singles, have kept changing. There's 'Autumn Leaves', not the same as the popular standard, where he writes, "I'm feeling low, I'm taking the blow, you're asking me if I'm doing fine; I close my eyes, I breathe a sigh, I swallow hard to say I'm alright".

On 'One More Night', he writes, "Jack of no trade, master of life, and notwithstanding, he just keeps on keeping on". On 'I'm Going Solo', he talks of being alone, with the lines, "Late at night when no one's up, I talk more than what I've got to say". The song has a simple guitar-bass-drum backdrop.

'Varanasi' is dedicated to the holy city, with the lines, "Cause I'm in Varanasi, and I don't like much of what I see, yet it feels like magic, just a little too tragic, but I'm coming back". He describes it is a "land of mysticism" and a "land of restless souls".

Jaimin describes this as a "compilation of songs about conflicts, disappointment and departure". One may add that they are about autumn and spring, raindrops and sunshine, buckets of pain and wilderness in the garden. And besides the quality of songwriting, there's a certain honesty and creativity that make the album special.

Interestingly, Jaimin says the song  'She' is not about a person, but about creativity and the random nature of creative energy. Now hear the song all over again, and it may offer a new meaning. "She's one of a kind, she conquered my mind, I ran every mile, she walked, but she won the race..."


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