As Ali Noor relinquished control to others, the music began flowing much more easily than previously
Earlier this year, Ali Noor and a group of musicians, artists or “motley crew” as a press release noted, came together to create his first solo album, Pagal.
As Ali Noor relinquished control to others, the music began flowing much more easily than previously.
Having dropped the electro-rock anthemic debut single, ‘Banjo’ off Pagal, the same group - spearheaded by Ali Noor & including the likes of Kami Paul and Ahsan Pervaiz - is back with the second single, the title track called ‘Pagal’.
The performance-based video featuring Kami, Ahsan, Ali Noor and others, is darker than ‘Banjo’ in theme – mental freedom – vibe and presentation. Backed by synthesizers along with a restrained Ali Noor, the song changes gear as the chorus hits and suddenly it carries a heavier tone.
Melancholia-dipped ‘Pagal’ is stronger than ‘Banjo’ because it is unlike anything Noori has done. Ali Noor is really getting out of a predictable Noori sound to something much more experimental. Every release since Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor has pointed to it and no song makes the Ali Noor sound clearer than ‘Pagal’. The songs are coming from the heart and a post-life threatening illness. This is a mature Noor on the mic. He’s not doing what he has excelled at for so long but moving past it, irrespective of the response.
Ahsan Bari on the future of live music
Ahsan Bari, a music producer/director and singer-songwriter, who also happens to be a member of music group Sounds of Kolachi, is staying true to his word. 2020 is without question about the expansion of Ahsan Bari Music. After releasing his solo debut EP Guzarish – in collaboration with Salt Arts – Bari is no mood to take a break.
In addition to working on the second Sounds of Kolachi album, a Mai Dhai project and another project with Fareed Ayaz while releasing at least two music videos from SOK’s debut album, Ilham, there is much more on the cards.
“By the first half of the next year, I want to finish some things and hopefully from May/June of 2021, I will start traveling. The traveling I had to do this year got pushed to next year.”
He is also spearheading an upcoming music festival. Scheduled to take place from Nov 21-Nov 23 at the Arts Council, it will feature a mix group of artists ranging from indigenous, traditional to classical and modern.
When asked about the future of concerts and how he thinks they will evolve since the global outbreak of Covid-19, Bari said, “Concerts are starting. Hamza Akram Qawwal announced one; Salt Arts announced one. A music festival is lined-up that will take place at the Arts Council (in Karachi) from November 21-23. It will feature traditional, indigenous as well as popular artists.
By Feb/March of 2021, things will improve. I personally think human beings are adaptive and they do find a solution. Even though Covid-19 has created a terrible situation, we will find a way out because we need to. Also, we can’t say that live music experience will always stay the same with innovations like virtual reality. Maybe in the next two decades, the very meaning of live performance will change.”
Wooly and the Uke drops ‘Circle in a Circle’
Wooly and the Uke, the alias of Janat Sohail Aziz, is a significant member of the independent music industry. Having dropped the single ‘Circus’ and later ‘Watch’ (featuring Poor Rich Boy) on January 01, 2020, she is back with another audio-visual delight.
Titled ‘Circle in a Circle’, the song’s music video counts Wooly and the Uke as editor and she has penned the lyrics as well. The video, tinged with a haunting shade of the color blue, is visually very different than her previous works; it is much more melancholic than ‘Watch’. In fact it is experimental and downright brave.
The sonic landscape is akin to Massive Attack or Thom Yorke but it isn’t a copy; it is the closest the song can be described sonically. Lyrically, its Wooly and the Uke at her best as she sings, “You’ll learn how to walk/flying is just like crawling/climbing to the clock/climbing to the top…”
It will take more than a few views to understand this music video that features Wooly and the Uke and a host of others along with some strangely compelling graphics.
Not one to do things that are predictable, the song takes you on a journey that is unusual at first, appealing as it moves forward and embraced by the musical side of your brain by the time it ends. There is no effort here to offer what appeals to pop culture but an effort to create a song that is honest both as a single and as a music video. And in doing so, it has made itself a part of pop culture on the virtue of its many merits.