With two major platforms, Coke Studio and Velo Sound Station, this is an excellent time for Pakistani music to come out with one release after another of either very well written and crafted original music, or covers improvised in such a way that they sound new, but with only a touch of nostalgia for them.
Right now, there’s a third entirely new music programme in the works that insiders say would have a larger effect than any of these two shows this winter season (rather optimistically). That is a very high order that must be met.
Hopefully, these statements would have some substance behind them, and after years of boring and formulaic covers that just didn’t hit the mark, we are treated to even more songs. Or encouraging the sector to go forward.
It is understandable that more indie artists, especially those who fill very small niches, are releasing their music largely unseen, with much of the attention of fans focused on the existing mainstream and younger acts on these two large platforms.
It’s important that they get their due share, or at least a reasonable listen, in the glitz and glamour of high-profile shows.
Sifting through some of the newer releases, Turaab Khan came across a single that stuck out—Grey. It’s from the genre of alternative rock and is in English. This song is very moody, as opposed to the high energy belted out in the more popular songs in CS and VSS.
The production is quite restrained, giving more focus to the minor details that establish the song’s lovely, yet melancholic atmosphere.
“It’s all the same, it’s grey when you’re away,” croons Turaab Khan in ‘Grey.’ The song begins with a basic riff from the main chorus line’s electric guitar. With Turaab singing the opening verses with only an extended piano chord playing in the background, the album opens almost softly.
‘Grey’ is an album of breakup, suffering and nostalgia. It leads to a soft acoustic strumming from the relative emptiness of the song before all three, the electric guitar, the keyboard and the acoustic guitar, come together for the chorus for the chorus.
The intervening music in the verses is rich in comparison to that. Turaab added the bass drum to the chorus the second time it came along, making it an even bigger sound. The quality overall is very slick. Turaab Khan could just be an artist waiting for a bigger platform to be discovered. He’s probably creative.
‘Gray’ harks back to the late ’90s musically and lyrically, not in a nostalgic pop-reinventing-the-era kind of way, but actually, as if it had been composed and produced back then. Alternative rock with only a touch of pop to make it a little more palatable and reach a larger audience without losing its more serious, sentimental sadness. On a long, smooth drive, ‘Blue’ is the best song to listen to.