As Noori continues to remains unplugged, Ali Noor aims to drop his debut album, Pagal, this year.
Ali Noor, who has been on his own musical trip for quite some time, is no longer the same man he was when ‘Manwa Re’ arrived many eons ago. His debut album, Pagal – releasing this year – is expected to be his personal narrative, unlike previous Noori albums that came with subtle messaging.
‘Banjo’ is the first single off the album and if you listen closely, there are elements of music that veer towards electronic and transitions that remind you that Ali Noor is still the prince of rock, if Ali Azmat is the king. As Ali sings, “Banjo, Naya Gana Bana”, it is obvious that even to him the idea of making new songs is as appealing as it is to us, the listeners. But it didn’t come easily to Ali.
As a press statement noted, “‘Banjo’, the debut track from Pagal, came to Ali Noor when he first began to work on this album, at the insistence of Ahsan Pervaiz, but found himself hitting a creative block. This frustration bubbled up in his mind and took form in the words, ‘Bh**Ch** naya ganaa bana,’ the Punjabi swearword capturing the sincerity of his annoyance at himself.”
The name ‘Banjo’ was changed from a profanity when Ali performed in front of a crowd that included children; it occurred to him that the name had to change.
“A naya gaana has to mean a new, emotional, workable movement, a new direction in life,” he said.
Within the song is a piece of Ali Noor, something he didn’t do before, at least never to this degree despite fan interpretations. The video is just as complementary; it has managed to drop the Noori signature to develop an Ali Noor signal.
While the full album review will appear as the album, Pagal, drops, Ali told Instep what the experience of creating Pagal was like for him as opposed to a Noori record.
“With Noori, it has always been about songs that are driven by some kind of message or exploring an objective reality of anything that we feel strongly about. It could be about changing society, or our personal limitations. Generally, that’s the feel of Noori where we’re trying to address any issue or anything that, we find, is bigger than us as individuals.”
Pagal, explained, Ali Noor is much more personal. “With Pagal, it is about feelings, experiences and emotions that I’ve been through so that’s one major difference: the personal space and the Noori space.”
The second thing that differentiates Pagal from a Noori record is its sound. “The sound canvas,” said Ali Noor, “of Noori is usually revolving around the drum, bass and guitar (Kami, Ali Hamza and myself coming together) whereas with Pagal, Kami, Ahsan, Kumail, they are all exploring different sonic spaces. I don’t want to do the same sound of Noori as Ali Noor.
People keep talking about wanting to relate to the Noori sound but the most important thing is that the Ali Noor sound and the Noori sound are very different.
The whole concept of doing a solo project is to explore sonic canvases that are different from Noori. Most importantly, this project and the projects that ensue this will be about collaborating with a lot of people. And collaborating is not in just in terms of singers but the way filmmakers, instrumentalists come together; we’re working on a musical idea that I have come up with or they have come up with which I can do but it’s definitely a very collaborative space.”
It is the opposite of Noori for Ali Noor as a musician, he noted further. “As a musician, it’s a lot more fun, this solo project, because there are a lot of opportunities to explore many different ideas. With Noori especially, there was a certain connection people had made with the band that was established for so many years; I get a completely free space when I’m working as Ali Noor.”