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Master Rakesh - Zakhmi (Album Review)

 
Record Label: Maalwa Records
Release Date: February 2008
No Of Tracks:
14

2003 was the year Zeus put his name firmly on the worldwide Bhangra map with the HUGE anthem ‘Kangna’. However the vocalist of that song almost 5 years ago was Master Rakesh. To call him talented is an understatement. With a voice that is unmatchable in the industry Master Rakesh has been behind a number of hit tracks in the past, without really getting any real recognition. Well that’s all about to change.

"Zakhmi" marks the beginning of a new chapter for Master Rakesh who has teamed up with super producer Ravi Bal who more recently teamed up with another superb vocalist Daljit Mattu, although the final outcome for that wasn’t all too great.

A little information about the album, it comes with a DVD that features both videos and behind the scenes footage. The album actually comes with a parental guidance badge over the DVD’s, I’ll leave you to ponder that one. The album contains 14 tracks with a intro and an outro. It’s a rather neat package put together by Maalwa records, 12 tracks and a DVD all for only 7.99. All credit to Maalwa for that one! Can someone inform Moviebox please? £12 for 8 tracks seems laughable now…

 

The album kicks off with ‘The Release (intro)’, its basically a skit to announce that Master Rakesh is leaving prison on this day, for those who are a little curious, Rakesh actually did spend time in a british jail, for reasons which I wont go into..

 A funky beat brings in the title track “Zakhmi (Ravi Bal Mix)” which can be summed up in one word…ORIGINAL! I see that the  every song is a mix thing has still stuck with Ravi Bal… anyway the production on this tune is to a very high standard. Theres a lot of random sounds and noises throughout the song but neither do anything but add to the song. Vocals by Rakesh are as you would expect. Its one of those songs you just sit back and appreciate great work from both Master Rakesh & Ravi Bal.

A very long intro sees Rakesh flex his vocal chords, the song finally gets going 1minute 40 seconds in and “Ek Doh Tin - 123 (Numero Desi Mix)” is pretty much like Zakhmi, another top tune. Ek Doh Tin is has more traditional elements than the fusion packed Zakhmi but its as equally effective. Theres been a lot made about the lyrics to this song, to be fair to both Rakesh and Ravi Bal the Punjab scene is full of songs about girls aged 16 or around that age. It may be a little inappropriate to release songs like this in the UK market such as is the climate of todays society. It’s a very catchy track, just try not to think too much into the lyrcs. Theres a little bit of recycling by Ravi Bal with the Teriyan Aadavan (Preet Harpal) song being used in places. No real need for that, it detracts from a good song and the best song off the album!

 Track four is “Lagda Na Ji (Dance Hall Mix)” and features Cheshire Cat. The beat as the title explains is Dance Hall but to a much slower tempo. It’s a pretty catchy song once again and the few verses thrown in by Cheshire Cat don’t really do much to improve the song, I cant grasp why producers continue to use artists like Cheshire Cat, who really don’t seem to add anything to songs. A decent enough song.

 “Dhulla Surma (Tumbinator Mix)”, I can see why this song was called the tumbinator mix, as it features a prevalent tumbi throughout the song, clever huh. Dhulla Surma is one of those songs that don’t really have a purpose. Its got a fast dance beat combined with a infectious tumbi,  it’s a pretty decent track but nothing overly spectacular. Just one of those songs.

 “Meh Margi (Deep Zone Mix)” is a 6minute long ballad, its ok, but slow songs really have to be something special to have any lasting effect, this one lacks anything. It would be a nifty cure for insomnia though…

 “Bah Fer Ke (Ravi Bal Mix)” and this once again is another unique production from Ravi Bal, different to anything I’ve heard before. You have to credit Ravi Bal on always trying to be original and Bah Fer Ke is exactly that. He could do without the robotic voice stating that it’s a ‘ravi bal mix’, makes it sound as if some North American dj has mixed this (no offence to all you North Americans!). As always vocals by Rakesh are sublime!

 This album has been void of some proper Bhangra so to speak, you can argue whether Master Rakesh’s voice is suited to a full blown Bhangra track, however Amit Rai’s Ishq Tere Ne proved that theory wrong. So onto “Nach Mere Naal (Dhology Mix)” which is as ‘desi’ as its going to come on this album. Once again another ok track, but never really gets going, feels a little lacklustre.

 Another UK album released and another duet! Looks as though these duets are really getting going in UK Bhangra, with Sudesh Kumari being at the forefront. “Gal Sun (Ashqi Mix)” sees Rakesh team up with the excellent Sudesh Kumari for another 6minute long ballad. Unlike Meh Margi this track does have a little extra, which are the vocals of Kumari.

 “Munneya Tenoo (Ludhiana vs Jalandhar Mix)” is another type of song that Ravi Bal seems to be obessed with recently, its neither here or there. Its just a song, nothing more nothing less.

 “Lights Off (Smedrock Endow Mix)” is another fairly catchy track, with the lyrics being somewhat different to your usual desi track. Although I think this song may deserve a PG rating alone. Much like a lot of the songs in the second half of this album, its fairly decent but that’s all I can say really.

 “Jawani (Mumbai Mix)” is a more slowed down track, a little like Lagda Na Ji earlier, although unlike Lagda Na Ji this song should really have no place on this album.

 The penultimate track is “Ek Doh Tin – 123 (Club Mix)”,  or as I would like to put it; Ek Doh Tin – 123 (This is a filler track to make up the numbers on this album).

 The final ‘song’ is “Angel 66.6FM (Outro)” it basically features a whole load of people ringing up a radio station bigging up this album, nice to see modesty is still around.

 
Let me get straight to the point.

Maalwa Records have done a excellent job in putting this album together, the whole 14 tracks and a DVD package for £8 is something you cant argue with! Great value.

Master Rakesh has been a class act throughout this album and his voice is superb.

Ravi Bal has had a shocker. Bar Zakhmi & Ek Doh Tin the production & the choice of songs on this album is wayward to say the least.

So whats right with this album? Well as mentioned the overall package is a good one, however that would only really work if the album was actually a good one, which sadly it isn’t. I took a swipe at Moviebox earlier at charging £12 for 8 tracks on special DVD packages, but those albums were actually worth listening to.

I really cant stress enough how disappointing this album is, Ek doh tin and Zakhmi as I keep mentioning are the only songs that are worth a repeat, and all credit to Ravi Bal for bringing out something new with those songs. However everything after that is skip-able, at a push I’d say Lagda Na Ji is a another well made song. In fact all songs have been produced ‘well’, but being produced well doesn’t mean they sound good. Ravi Bal is a seasoned pro in the Asian music industry, however it seems as though this old pro is on a ever increasing downward spiral.

I’ve never actually been so bored when doing an album review… now were did I put my Midas Touch cassette…

 

Master Rakesh – Zakhmi gets a 5/10

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