Approximately five years ago, singer-songwriter and composer Mehdi Maloof emerged on the music scene with a single called ‘Do Hi Rastay'.
Approximately five years ago, singer-songwriter and composer Mehdi Maloof emerged on the music scene with a single called ‘Do Hi Rastay'. Since that day to the present, Mehdi has gone on to release tracks that are drenched in a reality check but presented in a fashion akin to black comedy. From gentrification to society’s deteriorating fabric below the surface, myopic views that are becoming more and more ubiquitous, Maloof hasn’t shied away from tough subjects. One of the most intelligent songwriters and indicative of the changing face of music in Pakistan, Mehdi has tracks such as ‘Peero’ (with Talal Qureshi)’; ‘Kaheen Main Khirki’, ‘Gandi Si Building’ and ‘1947‘ to his name. He also appeared in Coke Studio 2020 with ‘Dil Khirki‘.
Mehdi Maloof songs may not release tracks with as much regularity as some of his peers but when he does, each track is relished by fans and critics. He is now back with a new song called ‘ Mera Dost Pareshaan Hai (ft. Ali Hamdani, Shamsher Rana and Varqa Faraid)’. Written and composed by Mehdi Maloof, given the artists it features, the song is a superb collaboration. It features Ali Hamdani, Shamsher Rana and Varqa Faraid with the last two producing and arranging the music. Recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered by Shamsher Rana, the music video is also helmed by Shamsher and is shot by Faani Films.
Some of the featured artists are members of Saakin/VIP; others have co-produced music for films such as Zindagi Tamasha (among other things). When such inventive musicians come together, expectations are higher but this equation delivers. Mehdi Maloof has written a song that is reflective of his songwriting and he has made sure it doesn’t lose the punch we associate with his music. With the likes of Varqa and Shamsher handling music production, Maloof has shown that he is willing to adapt. This unexpected sound is not associated with Maloof’s music. Building a new sonic landscape that is not only polished but unlike anything he has done before, is fortunately an idea that has worked.
Sitting in a garden, as Mehdi begins to sing, the doubt that the song might be too different than its predecessors in terms of songwriting instantly goes away. What we’re left with is a song full of observations draped in a darker comedic wordplay and it feels like an ode to friendship. The melancholy does exist but Maloof has concocted a narrative that is as unique as his songs.
A for Aleph drop new content
A for Aleph - that began as a state-of-the -art studio - includes a music residency program and has emerged as the go-to studio for artists, particularly independent names. A for Aleph also expanded and now includes a record label co-founded by Umair Dar and Anas Alam Khan. In addition to releasing a bevy of albums, they’ve been producing diverse content that is available in audio-visual format. Apart from releasing Wajiha Ather Naqvi’s delicious Hijrat EP, one section called A for Aleph Live includes artists in live format. After Naqvi, Aleph has released a session with the legendary Ustaad Naseeruddin Saami, the flag bearer of Khayal Gayaki. The latest performance is by Naqaabposh who have recorded their debut live EP Sethi aur Saanp at A for Aleph. Their new track, ‘Khudsar’ draws inspiration from the city by the sea, Karachi. The band also includes Adeel Tahir, which bodes well for their future. Other members include Hasan Anwer, Ammar Khaled Anam, Arsal Raza Shah. As A for Aleph noted on YouTube, the band started in 2017 and is an alternative metal project. Featuring crunchy and distorted guitars among other nuances within metal, check out this latest performance. Other exceptional recordings include ‘Mera Saath‘ by Surkhwaab, Ustad Saami, The Sketches performing ‘Ishq Da Kalma’ and performances by E Sharp and Natasha Baig.
A for Aleph is growing with each passing day, releasing original music, interviews with artists, producing diverse set of artists and launching its own record label. In just a few years, their impact on the music scene is undeniable, needed and transcendent in approach and style.
Spotify releases new initiatives
Spotify, the global music streaming app featuring a smorgasbord of artists from around the world and millions of songs, finally made its debut in several markets including Pakistan - earlier this year. Upon its arrival, Spotify has released a bunch of statistics with regards to Pakistan.
During Chand Raat (this year), Pakistan was among top five markets streaming via the app with demographic between ages 18 to 24. Other markets that performed well were Bangladesh, the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Songs that emerged as big hitters include ‘Amplifier’ by Imran Khan (after all these years) and ‘Brown Munde’ by AP Dhillon, Gurinder Gill, Shinda Kahlon and Inter$tellar.
The app also launched an initiative called Spotify’s 60 Second Concert which refers to artists performing for a crisp one minute. Artists who have participated in this initiative include Abdullah Siddiqui, Bilal Khan and Umer Farooq so far.
“Being an indie artist from Lahore, it is quite a task to reach a wider and relevant audience worldwide. Spotify has assisted me to a great extent when it comes to expanding and retaining my global reach,“ said Umer Farooq.
A fan study that allows artists to connect better with fans followed. Spotify is aiming to make the listening experience of each fan richer via the app’s signature mix of algorithms and human curation that is designed to help users make the “most of the Spotify’s personalized suggestions”. One example is Discover Weekly. “Delivered every Monday, this is a personalised playlist of 30 new songs Spotify thinks each user will love”.
Another example is Daily Mix which is “updated daily” and is a showcase of “personalized music mixes based on recent listening preferences that introduce new songs in addition to the ones listeners already love”.