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Friday Review » Music

Updated: December 20, 2012 20:02 IST

Musical travelogue

Athira M.
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Suraj Mani.
The Hindu Suraj Mani.

After leaving Motherjane a year ago, Suraj Mani is back with his first solo album, ‘The Tattva Trip’

Suraj Mani left the alternate rock band Motherjane in December 2011 when “a ruptured disc in his lower back, made it practically and physically impossible” for him to be part of the band. But, as they say, you can’t take music out of a man. So, on 12.12.12, Suraj returned to the music scene with his first solo album, ‘The Tattva Trip’, online.

The album is unique in many ways – it is a combination of a music album and an illustrated coffee-table book. “This album has a small story based on important moments of my life. It chronicles a man’s journey through different phases until he reaches his destination. It has nine songs, all on current topics. The essence of the songs go hand in hand with the essence of the journey,” says Suraj.

While Suraj has handled the vocals, lyrics and composing, joining him are Suresh Peters on the drums, Keith Peters on the bass guitar, Aman Mahajan on the keyboard, Alwyn Fernandes as the guitarist, and producer and Cajetan as the programmer.

The album is available only online at www.surajmani.in. In fact, Suraj stresses on the product as a collectible, a gift. “Because people who buy CDs are supporting musicians,” he says. Disappointed and disheartened by the scenario “where there is too much choice in music with hundreds of bands releasing free songs on the Internet daily and people taking whatever they wanted for free,” Suraj points out that his album is not on YouTube.

“My message is in the text and music. So it should involve the attention of a listener. We are demeaning music by not buying it. It is human to not value something in which you have not invested. When you pay for a song, you are not paying for music since music is priceless but for the people who create it. I have brought it out through my recording lable (Aum – I Artistes) and didn’t approach anybody to release my album because I’ve lost faith in the corporates. They are clueless about music and by giving it away for free they cheapen it,” Suraj says.

Naturally, he was discouraged when he suggested the concept. “I was told not to do it. But if you believe in something you have to do it. I had fun making it and I also know that not everybody will like it. But there will be people like me. The mistake we often make is that we try to cater to others. We make an even bigger mistake when we don’t cater to ourselves,” Suraj says.

He is releasing the nine songs as digital audio files as well. “Today it is almost a norm that a song has to be accompanied by a clever audio. But I don’t have one. In fact most of the songs that I love don’t have videos,” he says.

The coffee table book has illustrations by Prakash Miranda.

“I know I’ve taken a huge risk. This is a time when musicians are not able to sell their CDs. And here I am trying to sell a CD and a book. But, I’m fighting for what I believe in,” Suraj signs off.

The price of the album depends upon your choice. The CD-coffee-table book combo is priced at Rs. 999. There is a separate price if you are purchasing a single song.

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