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     Volume 5 Issue 108 | August 18, 2006 |

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To Sound Real

Elita Karim

Music today, is a very popular means of venting emotions. In fact, a lot of young musicians are intertwining their thoughts into the music and coming up with exceptional compositions. One such set of compositions is 64m 53s by Arbovirus.

Launched on the 20th of July at Geetanjoli stores in Basundhara City Complex, 64m 53s is yet another one of G-series exclusives. “We were thinking about an appropriate name for our album,” says Ranjan who plays the guitar, “but could not find one. That was when Shiplu (Art Director of the album sleeves) came up with 64m 53s, the total length of time of the compositions in the album. It seemed really unique.”

With a set of 12 numbers, many a music fan in Dhaka city openly claim Arbovirus' first album to be close to flawless. “The numbers are, what performers say, 'packed' and 'solid',” says one fan. “I believe this has a lot to do with the fabulous sound quality as well. The quality of sound still poses a threat to many a musician in Bangladesh even today. The album clearly flaunts the extraordinary work done by well-known guitarist and vocalist of Miles, Iqbal Asif Jewel (NOT OF THIS EARTH), who mixed, mastered and engineered the compositions. The album was recorded at Studio Bass, Not of This Earth and Dream Desk.

Hasan Imam Shiplu designed the sleeve covers of the album and the unusual, almost eccentric photography was done by Munem Wasif. Keys in "Amader Gaan" and "Shorger Shishu" was played by Emran (RaaGa and Yaatri) and "Omanush" were played by Apu (Triloy). "Shorger Shishu" ended with Saba and Saki.

With Sufi on vocals, Suharto and Ranjan on guitars, Jishan on bass and Tanim on drums, this album redefines the term 'unconventional' in many ways. Not only does it portray occasional bouts of simple human emotions like happiness, sorrow and pain, many of the compositions in the album play with the concept of reality and existence in the present time. This thought was also established with the help of the every day sounds that we tend to hear around us. For instance, in "Shorger Shishu", a track running to twelve minutes and thirty one seconds, resonance is created in the beginning with simple elements like keys tinkering, doors closing, footsteps, television sounds and many more.

The lyrics of the songs were poetic, intelligent and “mystical in many ways,” according to fans. Since the band wanted to reflect their own views and thoughts in the album, they worked on the lyrics themselves. One such composition with unconventional lyrics is "Adhar O Ishshor". It is about a boy who wants to feel darkness to its very core. He tries to lock himself up in a dark room, and covers his eyes up to be 'blind'. However, he fails to do so. Then one day he meets God and asks him what darkness really stands for and what it really means. God simply smiles and says that one would have to be in his place to understand it.

According to the members of Arbovirus, also popular at concerts, the band has tried to be themselves rather than creating something that they were expected to do by many who had watched them play. “We have an image of an alternative/numetal band,” explains the band. “However, every note that we played and every word that we wrote for this album can only be defined as real, more like making a personal statement.” It took almost two and a half years to come up with this album. “We recorded 50 percent of the album starting in 2004, working till October 2005,” they say. “We started to finish up from November 2005 to May 2006. The album was finally mixed in June 2006.”

Though emphasising on alternative rock, the band did not stick to a particular genre throughout the album. It has influences ranging from psychedelic rock to numetal, and acoustic ballads to punk rock.

Arbovirus, a band popular amongst concert-goers and alternative music lovers, is happy with the response that they are getting for their first production. “It is great that people can relate to the album which they are letting us know as well,” they say. ”We are even getting emails and calls from Chittagong, Jessore, Khulna, Rajshahi, which is truly overwhelming.”

Photo: Munem Wasif

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