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Joti Dhillon - Brown Sugar (Album Review)

                   Record Label:   Kamlee Records(UK)
                                                       Planet Recordz (Canada)
                                                 Speed Records (India)
           Release Date:  September 2008
No Of Tracks: 11                

The Canadian Bhangra scene has yet still to find its own character and distinctiveness. Although boasting a number of high profile vocalists, Canada has yet to really put forward their own super producers capable of bringing out ‘Canadian Bhangra’. Step forward Mr. Joti Dhillon. ‘Brown Sugar’ is the third solo release of the highly rated Canadian producer who is seen as one of the bigger names in North America. His last outing was titled ‘Rise Up’ released back in December 2006 which proved to be another solid album.

 A third release for Joti Dhillon means I’m hoping for some real progression in sound and for Joti Dhillon to really bring forward Canadian Bhangra which has been shamefully guilty of constantly copying the Indian and UK Bhangra scene over the years. The album features a number of high profile names from Kuldip Manak, Gippy Grewal, Nirmal Sidhu, Kaka Bhainivala, KS Makhan & more.

 More interestingly is the fact that I have no idea what a standard Joti Dhillon album would sound like, his previous two efforts have been different, will ‘Brown Sugar’ contain some sort of consistency?


The album kicks off with “Thar Thar Veri Kamde” sung by the brilliant Nirmal Sidhu and is a bangin’ track!  Although if Joti Dhillon produced this then I did Mundian Tu Bach ke, as this song is straight out of the Aman Hayer book of making dancefloor anthems. Good track but maybe next time try and be a little less obvious. I never really get involved with the ghost production malarkey, as long as it sounds good I don’t really mind, but come one this is your third album, you should have learnt something by now! Canadian Bhangra? Pssch!

 Onto more serious things now, up next is ‘Husn Di Kiven Tareef Likha’ and the song has been sung by the late Soni Pabla, who sadly passed away two years ago. This is a slow ballad that also features a cameo appearance from a female vocalist. It’s been produced well…Soni Pabla really would have went on to become something special.

 Kaka Bhainivala makes an appearance with “Hasiya Na Kar” and is probably one of the better songs on the album and features a funky house beat over the vocals of Kaka. It sounds totally unlike anything Joti Dhillon has done before, which is usually a good thing but nothing original. I could really go on, but I’ll probably end up getting myself into trouble…

 “Desi Desi” is up next and features Bal-E Lasara & MC JD who both are based in Toronto. It’s been produced by Pamma Sarai as proclaimed by MC JD at the end of the song. The song is decent, a little stop start and a little cheesy with the hook line of Desi desi. Decent enough track.

 The fantastic Manjeet Papu is on hand for “Tere Sohniye Gulab Rang Rang To” which is an all out desi number. It’s another decent song with some strong production with more of a desi flavour.

 “Rsaloo” is up next and check this out for a collaboration of vocalists… Kuldip Manak and Sukhdev Darapuria. If you wanted two of the best folk vocalists past and present then you have them here all in one track! Rsaloo starts off well with a pounding bassline and a heavy dhol with the vocals of Kuldip Manak. The song quickly switches into a drum and bass mash up, I soon loose intrest. Starts off well…fades fast.

 The fast rising vocalist Gippy Grewal checks in with “Patak Baari Koldi” on a first listen I wasn’t really sure were this song was heading, it doesn’t really contain much of a drop into the chorus. Gippys vocals seem to be on the same level throughout the song, but it works well when put together and is one of the better songs on the album.

 “Ken Siyane” is next and has been sung by Charanjit Channi who was behind that small little track called ‘Jaan Punjabi’ released last year. It’s a slow track, and its pretty awful, skip.

 By now this album is really beginning to drag on and I’m considering whether to just turn it off and do something more constructive with my time, like head off to the pub. Anyway “Gur Naalon Ishq” is next and has been sung by Bal-E Lasara, who I can’t really see what all the fuss is over. It also features east coast rapper Don Revo. I guess it’s a decent song. Maybe I’ll check out my grass grow or something..

 “Jaan Kisedi Lara Laake” is the penultimate song and has been sung by a new vocalist ( I think) called Kang ). It’s a slow song, I never really like many slow songs and this is just another generic song. In fact I wouldn’t even know if this song bursts into a dancefloor anthem 1minute in as I’ve already forwarded it.

 The final song (thankfully) is “Oh Yaar Naiyon Honde” and has been sung by KS Makhan. This song goes someway in making up for the rubbish that has come before it. It features some great lyrics that I’m sure we can all relate to; backstabbing etc etc. Production by Aman Hayer is pretty good and the drop into the chorus makes the song. Good song.

Well that’s that. What a load of rubbish that was. This is Joti Dhillons THIRD solo album, he is no longer an amateur, by the time a producer releases his third album you expect some progression and originality in his music. Well what have we got? Second rate music from UK producers who have evidently been employed as ghost producers todo a ‘job’. This album is everything that’s wrong with the Bhangra scene and so called producers who claim to only ‘direct and put across ideas’. What ideas were put across in this album? As it seems as though the majority of the songs were done in the UK in the style of the respective producers.

 Dare I say, Joti Dhillon needs some lessons from E=MC who recently released his own third solo album back in May. It showed real progression and a sound that had been developed over a period of three albums. Brown Sugar seems as though it was put together by Joti Dhillon’s favourite UK producers.  Just imagine how good the Nirmal Sidhu song would have been if maybe an extra 2 hours work went into it.

 Individuals who pay artists for songs are only getting second rate material!!

 I could go on, but I can’t be bothered. This is the last time I’ll be buying a Joti Dhillon album. Brown Sugar? I’d probably describe it as another brown substance, I’ll leave you to figure out the rest.


Joti Dhillon - Brown Sugar gets 3/10

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