A restored mosque, New Delhi.
These days have been interesting, as music has been transcending its lyrical and melodic boundaries to open up to me. I’ve been finding more meaning that what’s been served (or maybe not). Lately I’ve been seeing space in music.
I can possibly never thank my friend Firas enough for introducing me to Coke Studio Pakistan two years ago on an afternoon metro ride to college. While he was keen on the Persian Folk poetry, explaining to me the meanings and metaphors in each line, I remember being completely lost somewhere, in the music, thinking to me ‘this is really fresh stuff!’ Such a fresh contemporary take on folk tunes! It was Zeb and Haniya.
Then I heard their brilliant Coke studio collaboration with Javed Bashir. Downloading their album soon after, I heard the original version of the same song which I found to be far more compelling than the coke studio one. The song feels empty, almost like hints of ideas loosely strung together rather than a sound structure with gaping voids. For me this was just enough space to be listening and not be listening to the song at the same time. Much later Haniya also talked about it in their collaboration for the Dewarists.
Somewhere (14:26) in this brilliant documentary about their music, Icelandic post rock band Sigur Ros mention ‘Space is what we have here, in our personal life and in the land as well. [...] people are unconsciously aware of giving you space.’ You have to watch (or at least listen to) the whole movie to know what they really mean here. My Norwegian friend from child hood Pål Moddi Knutsen now sings and writes music and performs all over Europe as ‘Moddi’. His music lingers in my head for much longer than it’s actually playing for. Sombre and spaced out.
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