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By AES & Faizul A Tanim

Krishno aila Radhar kunje… these words have a new meaning here in the country thanks to one extremely talented young man, and a creative experiment that literally snowballed into a cultural crusade. Now riding on the wave of the success of his immensely popular first album Krishno, music icon Habib is back for a second helping with Maya, which was recently released under the banner of Ektaar Music, which features the voices of Kaya and Helal.

The Rising Stars were able to manage a one-on-one with this genius music producer.

Given that Habib studied music abroad, the first question that comes to mind is how come he veered from the norm and actually chose to come back to the country to try his luck here (ooh…and what luck that was!). When asked that question, Habib replied: "Let's say that I want to be a patriot. I love my country and would like to contribute something for its musical augmentation. My main motive is to create good music that appeals to everyone and thus there is commercialism involved in my ventures. The term commercial can therefore be popular music with entertaining padding." We all know of the Krishno track's overnight success after its surprise appearance in the album First Prize, which inspired Habib to release the entire album. The gamble paid off in leaps and bounds as Krishno practically became a household name. So when we asked him about music as a profession in Bangladesh, he said "Music is my profession now. Its my career and I earn my living making melody therefore I must be a bit commercial provided the compositions remain tasteful. Nonetheless, I do not want my albums to be too low quality marketable product and allow the value to plummet. I shall feel terrible as a musician if that happens and therefore I will always try to maintain a high standard for my music. I also want people to appreciate original Bangladeshi folk music and appreciate our country's cultural gifts through its tuneful heritage and preserve the ROOTS!”

We were naturally curious about what Habib feels about other Bangladeshi-born musicians. Habib believes that there are lots and lots of talented deshi-born musicians in England. "When you are abroad you really miss your country and feel a strong connection to it. Therefore, the songs created and sung by Bangladeshis abroad, generally come from the heart. They listen to folk music obsessively and try to find the love for soil through its tunes," said Habib in a tone filled with emotion.

Recent and Upcoming projects:
Habib plans to release his third album containing his original songs very soon. He also informed that his fourth compilation would comprise another remix album and going to include tracks sung by a Bangali female vocalist from UK. He also plans to bring many talented musicians from England to help him with his upcoming albums.

Habib tells us, "I do not have many influences, however, would particularly like to mention A R Rahman. He is a dutiful Muslim, a great composer, singer and a great personality of our time--all the components combining to make him a great musician and an absolute idol."

Rare instruments used in Maya and Krishno
Habib's music is instantly recognizable because of the sound effects created by a wide range of different instruments. In the two albums that we've heard, apart from classical folk instruments like Flute, Khamok, Ektara etc, some rare instruments were also used, for example Erhu--a brilliant Chinese instrument that is a cross between an ektara and a violin. Another such instrument that was used is a Dizu, which is a type of Chinese flute.

Burning question: Why not live performances?
"The main reason for which I cannot do musical shows is that most of my singers are abroad. Another reason is that my tracks cannot be exactly performed in the concerts as lots of different sound effects are used and it would take a team of about fifty people to perform the tracks precisely." Nonetheless, the local audiences will listen to music, live, soon on stage with different vocalists performing the songs.

What makes him unique?
The mere fact that he is few of the only young sound engineers and producer in Bangladesh who generates creative remixes of original Bangladeshi folk songs, fusing it with electronic vibes and disco elements.

On drugs and music:
Habib is strongly against drugs. He feels that drugs are a menace to the music industry and aspiring musicians should refrain from taking it.

"The new set of bands producing rock and folk music make it a revolutionary fact that music becomes sparkling with the musicians clean," he added.

On music and religion:
Habib is quite a religious man. He dismissed the preconceived notion that most musicians are against religion as gibberish. He said, "If a musician is religious, then he would follow the ways of Islam and stay away from drugs and other potentially harmful distractions. There would be fewer digressions in his/her life and therefore the musician can think clearly and properly dedicate himself to making music." As this interview wraps up today, it can only assure that the local music taste will not be dominated by conventional commercial music. Anyone listening to the two albums would certainly understand the efforts of fusing east and west in to a single audible pleasure leaving the emotional artiste with a smirk of satisfaction. RS wishes him best of luck.

Game Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Have they captured the Potter magic this time?

By Niloy

AS the new Harry Potter movie prepares to take the box office by storm, the latest in Electronic Arts' series of games licensed from J. K. Rowling's novels wants to make a big impact of its own. So far, the games haven't been much to marvel about, but now EA has a better approach. Have they captured the Potter magic this time?

Rowling's books should to serve as a rich source of inspiration. They have magic, plenty of characters, inventive sports, mythical beasts, and a whole world of locations; surely, this is ideal food for game designers. In Prisoner of Azkaban, EA has certainly made better use of her material.

Taking pride of place among the changes is a new focus on Harry's supporting characters, Ron and Hermione. Now the three teenagers, each with their own special spells and abilities, roam around the levels as a team. This is a great improvement -- the characters are constantly chattering to each other, offering advice and bickering, and the game feels far more alive as a result. The puzzles, while still standard Tomb Raider stuff, have also improved. The three characters will need to work together to activate pressure pads, pull different levers, and so on.

After completing the day's tasks, you're free to explore the castle of Hogwarts. Many of the sights from the books and movies are here -- the moving staircases in the Great Hall, Hagrid's cottage in the castle grounds, and Snape's potions laboratory, plus lots more. You can end the day and start on tomorrow's tasks at any point using a handy menu option.

The Potter games have taken a major graphical step forward. Hogwarts feels alive, bustling with students, teachers, and all manner of magical creatures. Harry and company are modeled well and easily recognizable, although one or two supporting characters look a little odd.

Thanks to the excellent music and an awe-inspiring amount of quality voice work, the sense of atmosphere is first class. On the whole, the scriptwriters have done a fine job of imitating Rowling's style, and although there are one or two silly lines, they're the exception rather than the rule.

Seasoned gamers ought to blow through Azkaban in no time. The combat difficulty level is forgiving, and the game guides you through the puzzles with helpful clues and hints from the other characters. Less experienced gamers -- who, let's face it, are really the ones the game is aimed at -- will find its light touch very rewarding.

Thanks to an on-screen button key, the controls are simple to learn. The movement is a little slack, and without a sidestep function it's sometimes hard to line up with objects or levers. But the third-person camera doesn't cause too much accidental drama and there's a handy lock-on function for attacking enemies.

A number of unlockable mini-games are included, some of which are multiplayer. They're generally silly, and most people won't feel the need to replay them, but it's still nice to have something different to do. The new multiple character feature cries out for a cooperative mode, but it's sadly been omitted.

There are also a few bugs. Sometimes characters get stuck on scenery that requires some fiddling to extract them. Once, Hermione fell into a pool and ended up running around underwater instead of dying, forcing a reload and a significant loss of progress. These little bugs tarnish what is otherwise a very polished game.

Prisoner of Azkaban is the best use of the Harry Potter license so far, by a clear margin. It would be a forgettable effort without the license, but its core audience is more interested in immersing themselves in the Potter world. It works very well in this regard, and if you're a fan of the books, you'll find it both engaging and entertaining. Polish your wand and stock up on Bertie Bott's Every-Flavor Jelly Beans, because you're in for some long nights of wizardry.

Movie Review

The Chronicles of Riddick

Review by Gokhra

Riddick - Vin Diesel
Lord Marshal - Colm Feore
Dame Vaako - Thandie Newton
Aereon - Judi Dench
Vaako - Karl Urban
Kyra - Alexa Davalos

Remember a movie called Pitch Black starring Vin Diesel that was released a few years back? Vin Diesel's character was an anti-hero called Riddick who had to lead a group of stranded space travelers off a planet besieged by predatory flying monsters. Well, its sequel has been out and about for a whole now and it's actually better than the first one.

Pitch Black was more of a horror movie but the sequel has been added a lot of different locations, elements, politics and lastly a lot of color. The first movie was shot almost entirely in a sepia or gray tint.

The plot: The movie starts off five years after the end of "Pitch Black." Riddick is now an escaped fugitive hiding out on a lonely, creepy planet and bounty hunters are seeking to cash in on his capture.

Of course, you just can't go upto someone like Riddick and put him in shackles. So a few battles ensue one of which you can see in the trailers regarding a spaceship crash-landing into a cave.

Riddick is enlisted to help defeat the Necromongers, a sort of dead people race that forcibly converts the populations it conquers. The conversion process itself is horrible. It involves a kind of bolt through the head. So no wonder that a few refuse in which case they get their soul sucked out of them. The Necromongers, like the crusaders of Earthly history, demand their victims convert or die. Those who join the conquerors are promised a pain-free life - and perhaps more - once the army reaches someplace called the Underverse.

Riddick's services are required because, as an introductory voice-over explains, such evil can't be fought by good but, rather, by another kind of evil. Riddicks character isn't exactly that of a saint but then again, when the bad gets to worse, you know exactly who to root for.

Anyway, this voice-over is supplied by Dame Judi Dench, who plays Aereon, an ambassador from a superior race who can zip from here to there like a phantom.

Necro leader Lord Marshal (Colm Feore) is your hammy and pompous villain. Keith David is the sole other "Pitch Black" cast holdover as a cleric who once again needs Riddick's help. Come to think of it, there were not many survivors left over from the first movie.

First off Riddick's gone to visit a prison where he finds a young woman, Kyra (Alexa Davalos), from Pitch Black. She is the last link to the previous film and plays a sexy fighting woman who has come a long way since she was a short-haired girl passing herself as "Jack" in the first movie.

Characters talk in that stuffy declarative way that has become standard in action sci-fi movies. Fits very nicely as last minute quips but then it becomes as if everyone is trying to have the last words. That means there isn't much in the way of dialogue. But that is okay because there is a lot more to make up for it. Vin Diesels presence goes a long way. He has that weird quality where he's making an impact even when you don't know what he is doing in a scene or why he is there.

Unlike Pitch Black, which was a rather low-budget thriller, Chronicles looks truly fantastic from the costumes, scenery, special effects and the action. The sets, or rather the computer generated worlds look impressive like a high-end computer game.

The movie does have an intriguing turn at the end but you will be watching most of it without knowing exactly where the story is going. It, in a way, adds to its allure.

Nintendo Dsfinal hardware design revealed

Ninty takes the wraps off a new, slimmer look for its forthcoming handheld.

Nintendo has unveiled a new look for the Nintendo DS handheld console and confirmed the final product name, with the console is still on track for release in North America and Japan late this year, and Europe in Q1 2005.

The new design, which you can see on this page, is the result of Nintendo's search for "a slimmer, sharper look", and one more in tune with an older audience - echoing the company's design for the GBA SP in many ways. It's certainly more akin to the PSP than it is to the unit which was unveiled at E3.

The DS now sports a thinner, black base and angular platinum flip-top cover, with larger face and shoulder buttons than the E3 unit, some of which have been "reconfigured for optimum use". The unit also gains a storage slot for the stylus, which was missing from the E3 unit, and we're told that the speakers now broadcast in stereo, with or without headphones.

Sites Unseen

By Niloy

Too many things are happing lately… and most of them are very sad. Flood, living around and wading trough our own fermented wastes, people's woes and despair, our stupid politicians doing nothing… all these are making me depressed. It's so scary to look at the newspapers nowadays! Starving people isolated and with nothing but a blank gloomy look on their faces.

Nothing more to say… visit the sites and keep your troubled minds distracted and busy, so that you'd feel less miserable. It is the least I can do for our tortured souls.

Stuff to discover

Tomorrow's magazines today! An awesome site featuring the news and technological advances that ought to happen in the near and distant future. This is one of the few sites that constantly amaze me with their ingenuity and humour. Every page of this site is worth checking out.
One word though, the site might look unimportant at the first glance. But always remember: You should never go for looks alone.

Stuff to watch

A really cool site, full of nice photos of all kinds of nice and cool things. There's groovy background music and, well, the pictures are worth watching. A fine site to spend a few well-meant moments with. I like the section named "Food". The pictures in that gallery truly are what you'd call visual appetizers. Please note that yours truly isn't an food obsessed person.

Stuff to download

A little place for some hand-picked handy softwares. Audio converters, jukeboxes, authoring tools, compression softwares and tons of really useful softwares, all neatly described and reviewed. Great place to go if you need any handy software.

Get a break now

Another great site for awesome little games… You'd certainly love this one. The games are funny, enjoyable and the graphics looks amazing. Good for spending some online minutes. All my friends who visited the site, especially the female ones, thought the site was "SOOO Cute!" Although I don't rush to give such a rating… I don't really think that they are much wrong. Or are they? Check out the site to find out.

Then get happy

One of the very few reasons that you'd want to actually thank the US government: they built and now run www.bam.com. This site is a true inspiration for being active, feeling great and staying fit. Sounds simple? No, it's not.

This site is almost bound to make you feel like being active and doing things. And the site looks and feels great. There are some nifty little "discover yourself" quizzes (like the ones at emode.com). And in the end, you might just discover an unknown talent in yourself. Did I mention that you'll love this site?

Or get sad

This is a site that, at first, made me chuckle and then, made me fell a deep sympathy. It's about geeks. Not the simple stupid doods we see around us every other day, but real pathetic losers. Those geeks, with their stupid beliefs and manner, making a stupid out of themselves in front of everyone… make's the cruellest pirate feel sad.

And you would feel sad too. This is a site of a comix strip named "Pathetic Geek Stories". The only thing is that, they are only remotely funny, and only the cruel ones would laugh.

All right, nice folks, I think I should end this here. Hope you enjoyed is as much as I did. Anyway, if you are interested about any particular subject, let me know (niloyx@yahoo.com). I might just have a good link for you.


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