Malang Party drop ‘Kaali Raat’

November 21, 2021

Many years ago, a terrific, promising band from Islamabad released a series of songs with ‘Dil Jaley’ being their lead single

Malang Party drop ‘Kaali Raat’

Many years ago, a terrific, promising band from Islamabad released a series of songs with ‘Dil Jaley’ being their lead single. They also performed it on the prominent music series, Coke Studio in its seventh season. For fans, it wasn’t just ‘Dil Jaley’ that held a special place in their music collection but follow-up songs from the band, in particular ‘12 Meel’. However, a full-length album or even an EP didn’t exactly release.

But, as A for Aleph studio emerged in Karachi, Malang Party, spearheaded by Zishan Mansoor, finally found a space that was good enough for the band to record at due to its state-of-the-art facility including residency for artists.

Becoming a kind of home to Malang Party, A for Aleph label (launched by Umair Dar and Anas Alam in 2020) released the band’s debut EP, Loadshedding (after remastering it) properly which meant that if you searched for Malang Party, you were not searching for an individual but the right band.

Since then, an all-star line-up has contributed to the LP Ziyarat by Malang Party. Apart from Zishan Mansoor, the album includes bonafide musicians such as Anas Alam Khan, Kami Paul, Varqa Faraid, Hassan Mohyeddin aka MOYO, Ashail Haider Khan with narration on the song ‘Ziyarat’ by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. With lyrical content by Zishan Mansoor, Malang Party has one foot in reggae-meets-funk-rock door and another in socio-political commentary.

Released by A for Aleph Records in 2021, the LP which consists of seven songs has dropped a music video relatively recently, something that is worth watching. Directed & filmed by Tazeen Bari, the monochromatic music video of ‘Kaali Raat’ features characters in hoodies and masks (in pandemic era) expressing socio-political questions and personal feelings as the night goes on. Hooded person(s) walking through the night, in a city that maintains its routine, as cars pass by, the music video has a raw feeling. It isn’t trying too hard and yet it’s beautiful as the audio and visual complement each other. Ziyarat commands attention. Hear it and check out their melancholic, monochromatic music video.

-Album artwork by Hassan Mohyeddin aka Moyo

co-VEN re-release Volume III

Malang Party drop ‘Kaali Raat’

The history of co-VEN is as old as the burgeoning underground music scene through the last few decades. Its debut release, Not in Your World with a young Ali Noor on vocals, singing in English, is a collector’s item.

The line-up of this very curious band has changed over time, but the music has never stopped coming. According to co-VEN, the music they create is “a mix of eastern folk sensibilities with western instrumentation and rock dynamics. Their songs are socio-political commentary and sonic portraits of the human condition.”

Since releasing Not in Your World in 1997 which was recorded and mixed by the prodigious producer, Mekaal Hasan, co-VEN’s original members took on different projects or “dispersed” but co-VEN rose like a phoenix from the ashes in 2005 with a sharper line-up, a super-group when co-founding member Hamza Jafri was joined by Sikander Mufti, Sameer Ahmed and Mauj frontman Omran Shafique.

Even as all four members pursued various endeavours, co-VEN remained a reality. In fact, the 2005 line-up released co-VEN Volume I and Volume II to critical acclaim by tying up with BMN/Radio One. The first single was followed by a music video from Rola titled ‘Sailing Fast’ which was directed by Uns Mufti. Other music videos followed, including ‘Boundaries Broken’. The music videos earned the band Lux Style Award nominations, which brings us to the present.

In 2010, co-VEN dropped the single, ‘Ready to Die’ via Sameer Ahmed’s label. The song not only received critical acclaim at home but abroad such as being noted by NYT.

co-VEN also segued into Urdu with ‘Chor’ with an equally dark and edgy music video, but the song didn’t receive as much applause as their English work has. Personally speaking, ‘Chor’ was a riot worth applauding.

Cut to today, co-VEN is re-releasing its third album, Volume III which features ‘Ready to Die’, the grungy, eastern-layered yet inviolably honest in its song writing and western instrumentation, via A for Aleph Records.

Remastered by A for Aleph Records in 2021, the album is available on several digital platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and so on. To learn more about the growth of the underground music to what it has become now, this is a must-stream, must-buy record.

Natasha Baig on her sophomore album, Khirad

After dropping her debut album, Zariya, Natasha Baig is working on her second album, Khirad. The album is a tribute to Allama Iqbal. The teaser for the album titled Khirad has dropped - courtesy of Laal Series via which had also released Zariya. Promotional activity for Khirad has begun and will follow until the album drops next month.

When Instep asked Natasha why she picked Allama Iqbal as not only a tribute but the subject matter for an entire album, she recounted that the story begins from Coke Studio season 11 where she performed a kalaam by Allama Iqbal in collaboration with the mighty Fareed Ayaz, Abu Mohammad Qawwali troupe – the now famous ‘Shikwa/Jawab-e-Shikwa’ The performance redefined how critics, industry insiders and music fans view(ed) the extent of Natasha’s sheer talent as well as what a remarkable singer she truly is. As Natasha recalls, it made her curious about Allama Iqbal. It wasn’t lost on her that the performance on Coke Studio 11 had alerted one and all to Natasha’s ability as a singer. But, as Natasha admits to Instep, she, like so many of us knew very little about the man behind the kalaam, Allama Iqbal - apart from what she learned in school as we all do.

Malang Party drop ‘Kaali Raat’

This led to a journey where she began the process of discovering the many facets of Allama Iqbal via Kuliyaat e Iqbal, his Diwan (poetry collection). She followed it up further researching Iqbal including speaking to different people.

“All we have learned about him in school is that he dreamt of the creation of Pakistan. Even during Coke Studio 11, I hadn’t realised but on the final day of the performance, I realised that what we know about him is in limited context.”

“My performance on Coke Studio 11 of his kalaam became my identity and I started getting associated with his kalaam. I received his Kuliyaat as a gift on my birthday…”

It resulted in Natasha embarking on a journey where she learned what we don’t know about the man including his revolutionary poetry, the many dimensions of the man and how there is more to him than the dream of Pakistan. “Other artists have performed his kalaam beautifully but it was the Kuliyaat that served as the inspiration for what has culminated into an album. His work needs to be appreciated more. His work is not time-bound,” she adds.

Music has the ability to take something and make it palatable, relatable, adds Natasha. She feels that knowledge about his work needs to be known in addition to the work done by individuals such as Yousaf Salahuddin. “Music is the perfect vehicle to bring forth his work,” concludes Natasha having tried and succeeding with ‘Shikwa/Jawab e Shikwa’ on Coke Studio 11. Watch out for the album, scheduled to release in the second week of December 2021.

–Photo by Daniyal Naqvi

Malang Party drop ‘Kaali Raat’