Release Date: May 2007
No Of Tracks: 12
Mukthar sahota is a name that is synonymous with the Bhangra industry, apart of one of the greatest punjabi bands (note not Bhangra) of the 90’s; The Sahotas. Carrying on from The Sahotas, Mukthar has never made his music inside of the norm. The first UK producer to use Lehmber Hussainpuri, Mukhtar Sahota is one known to start trends and definitely not follow them. His latest offering is ‘UNPREDICTABLE’ an album alongside talented vocalist Lakhwinder Wadali, who himself is no stranger to the big scene. Mukhtar released 21st century jugni alongside Arif Lohar back in October 2006, which was another musical masterpiece.
An album containing one producer & one vocalist… a recipe for repetition?
Track one is titled ‘Jogia’ and it is a brilliant track, before I got into the review I should have mentioned that this album is far from a Bhangra album, although this is the closest you will get to a actual Bhangra song on the album. Mukthar has done a fantastic job arranging composing and producing this song, and it really shows. A easy listening song which is made better by the soulful vocals of Lakwinder Wadali. You can tell when a producer actually has musical knowledge on instruments, they can produce music as good as this.
‘Gal Tha Bandhi’ is up next and one of my favorites off the album, once again the production by Mukthar is on another level. Much like Jogia its another easy listening song which just needs you to sit down and appreciate the depth in musicality in this song. Lets be honest, 95% of Bhangra fans will think this is rubbish, why? Its not about drinking, girls, or dancing. It’s a shame because songs like these will not get the same exposure as something as Jaan Punjabi… which, well lets not go there.
The best track off the album is next titled ‘Jaan’, the musical quality once again goes up a notch with another brilliant song with Lakhwinder’s vocals working well on the slower tempo. A mellow dramatic song which has as much depth as the pacific ocean, which is something that is hard to find in todays monotonous market!
‘Nishani’ is up next and is another musical fest, however unlike the tracks before this has more of a desi element to it with a soothing tabla throughout combined with the funky and electro guitar riffs that are ever present with Mukthars work.
Mukthar once again flips the script by giving a song with a total old school reggae feel! ‘Mahiya’ is another laid back track which requires the listener todo nothing but sit back and appreciate the quality of the music. Although the only downside that can be said is the repetitvness of the lyrics and vocals at times, which do feel as though the song is dragging on in a sense. Oh and when I mean reggae think Bob Marley rather than Tony Matterhorn.
‘Electro Fused Ranjha’ is next, which in someway follows on from the style Mukthar had going with his previous release; 21st Century Jugni. Another song which you wont find on your average desi producers release, originality is the key throughout this album and this track pretty much sums it up. Mukhtar Sahota is regarded highly throughout the industry, and this is why. Few producers are capable of taking new routes in their music, let alone making it work, Electro Fused Ranjha is a masterclass in exactly that! Qawali vocals by Lakhwinder add to the brilliance of this song.
‘Gabroo’ follows on and it is probably the only song which hasn’t grabbed me, but saying that it still is another strong song, which much like the previous songs contains great musical pieces. However me as a Bhangra head just can’t stop wondering how these vocals and these lyrics would sound on a desi Bhangra track! Well I’ve lasted 7 songs without saying that!
Bhangra you ask? A dhol brings in ‘Sach Siyane’ which has a constant dhol playing throughout however Mukthar still keeps his experimental side showing in this song. Another solid offering from Mukthar and Lakhwinder in this song, not quite a Bhangra song although it works well the way it is.
Seeing as though Lakhwinder is son of the great Puran Chand Wadali, as one half of the Wadali Brothers, it would only be right for them both to sing in collaboration. ‘Charka’ is a brilliant Qawali song which Mukthar has done his best to keep the song true to its Qawali roots. Although Mukthar does well on the musical tip this song is all about the brilliant vocals, which are a treat to your ears.
‘Aaja’ is up last and is another mellow and downbeat song, although it is a ok-ish song it really didn’t do much for me, saying that there isn’t nothing blatantly wrong with it. You find yourself waiting for the chorus drop which may ignite this song, which never comes along.
‘Maahiya (Old School Dub)’ is next which is a remix is. There I was thinking it was purely an intrumental, it contains a few chorus verses, but much of the song is basically music. I don’t have much appreciation for fillers such as these! Next…
Another remixes rounds off the album, this time ‘Charkha (Club Mix)’. Its funny when producers name a song ‘Club Mix’ and you sit there wondering in what club would this song get played? As a remix its average, I find myself preferring the original, but I don’t think you’ll ever see me raving to this in a club, even after the large amounts I’ve consumed!
Before I finish this review, let me remind everyone that this is NOT A BHANGRA ALBUM, so those who listen to it expecting a Bhangra album will be left a little out of place. However those who are able to appreciate good music for what it is this is an absolute treat. After hearing endless Bhangra albums with the same dhol loops, same bass lines same lyrics, Unpredictable is a little refreshing. If you’re a upcoming producer look to this album for inspiration as it holds one of the key ingredients of a great producer; orginiality! Not enough producers in todays market are willing or even able to be original, simply sticking to there tried and tested formulae. Mukthar Sahota is one of those few blessed producers or musicians are who able to-do this. Unpredictable goes some way in affirming the hype around Mukthar who has been around the industry for a long time. The vocals by Lakhwinder although do sound of out place on some tracks work well on the majority of the songs. However for me this album is all about the quality of production by Mukhtar. Producers….throw your laptops out of the window, pick up a instrument and learn your music!
If you haven’t heard this album yet, give it ago although it may take a while for it to grow on you it definitely is worth listening to.
Unpredictable gets 7.5/10