Music Briefs: Aghavan, I Love You, Ilayaraja, Jessie, Kolaigaran, Mouname Ishtam, Natpe Thunai, Nedunalvaadai & Notebook

A quick take on the latest music from Vishal Mishra, Hiphop Tamizha, Ratheesh Vegha and more...

Notebook - Safar is breezy acoustic melody that finds its perfect vocal accompaniment in Mohit Chauhan, and Bumro, a rework of the classic Kashmiri folk piece, is given a refreshing treatment that borders on ethereal. Kamaal Khan, not to be left behind, gives a spirited rendition that matches the song's energy step for step. Nai Lagda is splendid folk with melancholic strains thrown in for good measure, even as Dhvani Bhanushali gives an effective take of the pathos-soaked Laila. Easily the best to come from Vishal Mishra thus far.

Mouname Ishtam - The music for this film is by a little known composer by the name of Vivek Mahadeva, but if his scintillating debut is anything to go by, I can't wait to hear what he comes up with next. Adheef Muhamed does admirably well singing the hypnotic ballad Nevalle Nevalle, while Dolu Melam Sannai Moghe is catchy folk, appositely celebratory and foot-tapping. Sooraj Santhosh and Nayana Nair's pitch-perfect rendition of the semi-classical fusion Yentha Kottagundi Premalona is as ambient as it's captivating, with Vivek's synth-laden arrangements complementing the melody so beautifully. Manasu Katha Emayindo is bouncy pop, competently produced and pretty, if sounding almost like a Yuvan Shankar Raja composition, in a good way that is.

Jessie - Sricharan Pakala crafts a gorgeous mood piece in Tholi Tholi Paluke that gains immensely from Vidhya on the mic. Sricharan and Yamini Ghantasala lead the punchy grunge-rock Run, but in the aptly titled Lullaby, Sritha Chandana's vocal inflections and Sricharan's atmospheric orchestration make for a suitably haunting listen. The instrumentals, Jessie & Amy, Ghost Hunters and Cop, turn out to be equally ominous sounding, alternately lurching between melancholy, mystery and intrigue, with Sricharan building an arresting tapestry of electronic elements.

Nedunalvaadai - Jose Franklin's folky melody Yedho Aagippochu, led by Shweta Mohan and Yazin Nizar, is the easy standout, but Ore Oru Kanpaarvai, sung by Yazin and Purnima Krishnan, is no less enticing. Thanga Kavadi is where things a get a lot more frantic, with Franklin roping in Mathichiyam Bala, Kalakkal Kaviya and Sugandhi for a traditional percussion-heavy folk piece. (The use of oud is a nice touch!)

Aghavan - C. Sathya masterly concocts an endearing melody in Adiyaathi Adyaathi that Vandana Srinivasan renders without a hitch, adorning the tune with a lovely assortment of mandolin, ukulele and flute. Priya Hemesh-sung Adangaa Kuthirai is fabulous too, a pleasant and soothing ditty enhanced by a gentle mix of ghatam and tabla.

Kolaigaran - Simon K. King's Idhamaai is undeniably pretty, accompanied by a perfect sprinkle of sarangi and western percussion, but its Unplugged version takes a more acoustic route that's just as stunning, with singers Kapil and Janani SV lending solid vocal purchase.

Natpe Thunai - If it's by Hiphop Tamizha, you know what to expect. Natpe Thunai finds the composer duo not deviating too much from their patented EDM-folk formula, but to give credit where it's due, Kerala Song works just for its sheer manic energy, as does Pallikoodam, where Sanjith Hegde brings his trademark soul, delivering what's a twangy new-age friendship anthem.

Ilayaraja - It's always a pleasure listening to P. Jayachandran, and he is simply astounding in Ratheesh Vegha's Ennalum Jeevithamake. Biju Narayanan, another rarity in today's Malayalam film music, also makes a welcome return in the strings-heavy piece Iravu Pakalumizhacherum, while Naresh Iyer, for his part, hits all the right notes with his rendition of Oro Veyilil Oro Mazhayil.

I Love You - A largely forgettable soundtrack barring Kiran Thotambyle's Maatanaadi Maayavade, a cracker of a melody flawlessly rendered by Armaan Malik, whom, if not for the credits, I would have easily mistaken for Sonu Nigam.