Over the many years and countless hours of darkroom work, I was always accompanied by shortwave radio and music. The work being in parts demanding, tedious and time consuming; there was plenty of time to intently listen. And this meant that music that wasn’t very good was quickly discarded and music that stood the test was played over and over again. Some of it so deeply ingrained that I began to enjoy it outside the darkroom and it still accompanies me today.
The other aspect of having the time to listen at length and depth meant that exploration of a subject was a welcome affair. Given that music resources were not what they are today, the dross generally fell to the bottom while good radio presenters, critics and liner notes often lead you down interesting and interwoven paths. The original resources being manageable, and roughly accessible to both listener and musician alike.
Amongst other things, I developed a lasting interest in film composers and arrangers. Two immensely creative areas that managed to have been washed out with the swelling tide of singer-stars and international commodification.
Bernard Herman, Quincy Jones, Henri Mancini, Lalo Schifrin and Ennio Morricone; they all became companions and friends. It was easy to search out their music and always a deep pleasure to hear.
I don’t really want to write about film music here as much as I would like to share. Because there is one album I return to again and again. And while rightfully Sunil Ganguly is not so much a composer, he was a masterful critic, arranger and musician.Not to mention my introduction to Indian film.
Not having grown up with Indian music I find it too vast a repertoire to know. But to roughly quote Duke Ellington, it comes down to the fact that there are two kinds of music in this world — music that is played well and music that is not; and the music that’s not played very well is generally the music that’s not very good.
Personally I would argue this makes Sunil Ganguly excellent. And why I’m leaving it for you too decide. A good listen change your week for the better as for decades it’s managed to benefit mine.