Bangalore/Delhi based product designer Arjun Agarwal took this project on because of his love for turntables.
He picked up a raggedy HMV Fiesta for Rs. 2000/- and his project was underway.
'Not much design and thought went into this project, I just found a great looking piece of wood, buffed it to be buttery smooth, and fit all of the old HMV parts onto and under that. I added a couple of features which the old one didn’t have; for example a on off switch and some lights. I also had to cut and add some MDF pulleys as some of the old ones were heavily damaged.
Turned out great in the end and I think I got the aesthetic to much better match the sound. Plus, excluding the cost of the turntable, everything else cost me under INR 300 to put together.'
Talented musicians across the border are slowly building a scene, which if nurtured well will outshine ours. After all, the kind of material they are producing by drawing on multiple influences from all over the world is surprisingly indigenous.
Here are 5 relatively less acknowledged Pakistani musicians that we believe are really enjoying the labour intensive job of making good art.
Nawksh’s music is not just sharp, but also deep, which puts him in a musical realm dominated by Warp Records’ Chris Clark. Currently he is signed to an independent Tokyo label Guruguru Brain.
Danial Hyatt (Nawksh’s real name) debuted with album MythicTales of Tomorrow II - a labour of his love for developing video games and making music on the side. And just as a video game is any gamer’s escape, Ceratyl is his. It’s the world where most of Danial’s music comes to life. Give this one a listen to know why Nawksh must make regular appearances in South Asian electronic music festivals.
You know him by his stage name Mooroo. An established composer, director, actor, vlogger, Taimoor has made quite a name for himself. His collaboration with rapper Faris Shafi, who’s also made it to our list, was one of the most popular South Asian rap videos in 2012.
Mooroo debuted with his album Pehli in 2017. It’s peppered with Sufi mysticism, several instruments, and witty and honest lyrics. However, we would like you to first listen to one of his singles Mariam and then move on to Pehli.
On the surface, Faris Shafi seems like a mischief-maker. But dive deep into his explicit lyrics and you will find the subdued ethos of his generation. His songs are a reminder that no matter how lucky you are to be born in a well-to-do family in a war ravaged country, you can’t ignore the atrocities inflicted upon your brethren for long.
Faris Shafi, unlike others on this list, doesn’t have an album to his name. However, he has released three singles in the past of which Awaam deserves a listen. Like the other two tracks, this one lands repeated punches on the face of politics in Pakistan. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that he cuts a record someday soon.
Whatever be the reason, it’s unjustifiable that very little is spoken about the current crop of Pakistani female musicians in popular media. Take Sameen Qasim as an exemplar from that collective – she first came in the spotlight for her excellent cover of Boom Boom in one of the Nescafe Basement sessions. Few more covers followed, which subsequently led to her first album with her band, Hawai Jahaz.
Sameen’s collaboration with Gentle Robot, another musician based out of Lahore, resulted in Feel. Few seconds into the song and you will also agree that her voice is worthy of attention.
We saved the best for last. The Tamaashbeens are a quartet from Lahore that chooses to sing in Urdu. Perhaps that makes them the real torchbearers of the indie scene in Pakistan.
The Tamaashbeens sound tells of the quartet’s innocence in making honest, hummable music. Think mellow strings coupled with vocals that are unmistakably unpretentious. Tordh Phordh from the Patari compilation album, Patari Aslis Vol.1, is a lovable track that you wish was played on our local radio stations.
What electronica is to Indian music listeners today, rock was to their predecessors yesterday. Starting 90’s, India witnessed the emergence of several indie bands that showed lots of promise.
We have listed some of their tracks to leave you with this thought - what if they all came back to the ‘scene’ from wherever they are right now?
PENTAGRAM - DRIVE
A list like this is incomplete without Pentagram. After all, who wouldn’t acknowledge their contribution in shaping India’s independent music movement. Since its inception in 1994, the band has played several prominent venues in India and around the world including the 2005 Glastonbury Festival.
Drive from the album Up is reminiscent of The Prodigy sound from the 90’s. Feel free to exercise your right to break stuff while it’s blaring on your speakers.
ZERO – PSP12
Zero is a band with a fan following few others in the scene today can rival. Any current rock band worth its salt will vouch for that.
Legend has it thatPSP 12fromHookwas laid down in 3 minutes. While waiting for Warren and Garreth D’Mello (of Split, Dischoridan) to show up for practice, Bobby started slapping his guitar on top of which Sidd wrote the song. That’s how the ‘Teri Maa’ song was born.
BLACKSTRATBLUES – ANUVA’S SKY
A big shout to Warren Mendonsa for making it again on our list. A solo-project of the ex-Zero guitarist, Blackstratblues is Warren’s attempt at presenting himself as the instrument’s true devotee.
Anuva’s Skyfrom the album,Nights In Shining Karma, was home-recorded. It is rich with lush layers of guitars, and devoid of unnecessary shredding. A blessing for the musician and the listener.
SUPERFUZZ – 4 TIMES AND ONCE AFTER
Superfuzz, the Delhi based rock-n-roll outfit with a garage-punk soul is now Indigo Children. While they are yet to revive their original mojo from the days of Superfuzziness,the country still remembers them for their sound from early 2000’s.
4 Times And Once Afteris a 2-minute punk soiree set against the backdrop of sounds similar to Artic Monkeys’. Having said that, it’s replete with 95% original lyrical wit.
SCRIBE – ANALYSE THIS
Scribe still holds the title of the most technically proficient hardcore/experimental/post-hardcore/metal outfit in the country. It’s little surprise that theirConfectearned fifth spot on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of Top Ten Indian Albums in 2008.
Analyze Thisfrom the album starts with a homage to The Matrix and ends with a reminder that we are only onlookers until we act. And Akshay’s underlying textures tell you instantly what makes this track killer.
THE SUPERSONICS – YEAH WHATEVER
The Supersonics are from Kolkata and they like to get tighter with every tour. That pretty much sums up why they have a loyal and steadily increasing fan base.
Yeah WhateverfromMaby Bakingis the stuff that gets a band its place in the line-ups of UK’s Great Escape Music Festival, NH7 Weekenders, Puma Loves Vinyl, the Roadkill Tour, the Indiecision Tour and the debut run of the Red Bull Tour Bus. Do us a favour, listen to the track.
JUNKYARD GROOVE – IT’S OK
Part alternative, part funk, part rock – that pretty much sums up Junkyard Groove’s repertoire of sounds. They have opened for Iron Maiden, Incubus, Prodigy and Robert Plant in the past.
It’s OKfrom their first album11:11was popular on most English radio stations in 2009. Give it a listen to know why.
SHAA’IR + FUNC – TOGETHER AGAIN
Before Monica Dogra made her acting debut in Aamir Khan’s Dhobi Ghat, she had already established herself as Randolph Correia’s able collaborator. The Shaa’ir and Func sound stands out, giving a sense of what makes this duo a favourite at gigs.
TheirTogether Againis an example of how synths can be used to create a unique Indian club anthem. If you haven’t heard it yet, thank god for YouTube, you still can.
SPLIT – HOLY GHOST MACHINE GUN
Split keeps losing band members but never cries over spilt milk. It’s always a quintet of blokes that knows how to infuse conflict and resolution with its music.
Holy Ghost Machine Gunfrom the albumP Is For Pigis a post-grunge phenomenon that questions the use of violence in the name of religion or god. A cliché topic, only dealt differently.
THEM CLONES – MY LIFE
Sometimes thoughtful, sometimes confessional, Them Clones never fails you with its grooves and melodies. It’s remarkable how they transformed from a band that was too noisy for its neighbourhood to being hosts of their own festival ‘Clonefest’ in New Delhi.
The band’sMy Lifeis a head-bang-worthy anthem and an experience in itself. It still continues to win over new listeners.
HELGA’S FUN CASTLE – SMOKE SOME GANJA
Helga’s Fun Castle broke into the scene as a jam band that took their set very seriously by not rehearsing at all before gigs. This collective of gentlemen with previous experience in rocking the country sometimes even made up songs right on the stage.
TheirSmoke Some Ganjacan mislead the uninitiated into believing that it samples vocals of Bob Marley. Well, trust your ears a little to tell you that it’s Sidd Coutto’s.