‘Sooji Ka Halwa’ guy pays
ode to old school of rock!
After developing a cult following with just one single, ‘Sooji
Ka Halwa’, Tee-M is out with a brilliant album that is reminiscent
of the early eclectic ‘60s and late fun-trippy ‘70s.
By Sonya Rehman
Album: Earthiotic - Songs From A One Room Palace****
bright yellow CD cover depicting a man with his guitar walking towards
the world. And in a happy-chubby, 60s-style font, it reads: Earthiotic
– Songs From A One Room Palace.
Upon noticing the local media boom, this Pakistani musician (based
in L.A), has of late begun performing gigs back in his homeland. And
it was recently that Tee-M (Tariq Mirza) performed at a sold-out show
at Royal Rodale in Karachi and among others, a gig in both Lahore
and Islamabad - which was put up by the Alliance Francaise.
Now what strikes one most about Tariq is his humble enthusiasm –
and this, is reflected greatly in his music. Infact each of his songs
featured on his debut album carries with it an untainted ‘popped-up’
is neither too overbearing, nor too aggressive. Lightly shaken, stirred
and happy, Tee-M rolls out his rock with an innocence that is felt
greatly in music genres that were churned out in the early eclectic
‘60s - seeped on towards the late fun-trippy ‘70s.
Therefore Earthiotic – Songs From A One Room Palace, clearly
belongs to the ‘progressive rock’ genre. Don’t think
King Crimson or Pink Floyd – those were darker forms of progressive
(psychedelic) rock. Think Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), Jethro
Tull…or better still, Supertramp – lighter forms of rock
that were thoroughly progressive.
So jump into your daddy’s beat-up old Mustang, roll down the
windows and take a drive down a wide highway, because ‘And I
was gone’ will make you want to do just that. The track has
this old, vintage touch to it, just as ‘Disappeared’…and
the lyrics? Pretty ‘straight from the heart’ and simple,
making it real easy to sing along to.
been produced by both Tariq and Geoff Tyson (who was also Joe Satriani’s
student). Therefore it’s packed with quite a bit of punch. Smooth
and clean, the numbers have been impeccably recorded. You can tell
that the quality is that distinguishable.
Tariq’s debut album hasn’t been released through an official
record label though, rather, it has been released independently. Therefore
Earthiotic can be purchased via Tee-M’s website, www.tee-m.com
Now when I stated earlier that Tee-M’s music
encompasses an innocent, albeit enthusiastic feel - that was reminiscent
of the ‘60s grooving rock – ‘New Orleans’
and ‘Spunk’ clearly fit the definition bill.
In ‘Spunk’, Tee-M sings: “She’s got spunk/She’s
got spunk/She’s got spunkkkkk/She’s a funky chick”,
making for a fun Indie song that makes one want to don a pair of
three-inch block heels, bell-bottoms to get down and groovy with
And there you have it: song number seven smiles out at you from
its jiggly-little font. It’s called ‘Aao Aao Aao’.
Need I say more?
“Aaj subha mein utha/ Duur say awaz ai/ Uth jao meray beta/
Peelo doodh milai/ Thori dair I couldn’t believe it/ When
I heard those things/ So I looked around for a minute/ Again I heard
the voice say/ Aao aao aao/ Sooji ka halwa khao!” The song
will make one’s heart-cheeks grin from ear to ear as it really
is a winner.
How wonderfully simple a song ‘Aao Aao Aao’ is, and
yet it has the ability to make one - of any age whatsoever - feel
nostalgic, happy, warm and fuzzy all at once. Truly like a hot bowl
of Sooji Ka Halwa!
In ‘Hallucination’, a slurry-mellow number, Tariq’s
vocals in Urdu as he Sa Re Ga Ma’s and then again in ‘Yahrah!’
where he croons: “Yarah chor chal/ Chal chaley/ Chal chalein”,
makes him an extremely diverse singer.
He sounds great singing in Urdu, infact his voice takes on a very
different older-sounding, powerful and huskier sound. The differences
between his singing in English and then in Urdu (both of which he
does aptly), is quite startling.
Progressing forth, tracks 10 through to 12 ooze the lazy blues in
different shades. With a hint of country-guitar-twang, they are
upbeat and cocooned with sensitive, soft rock.
Get this now: ‘Man Without A Country’ is a song written
in inspiration for Merhan Karimi Nasseri – a true story of
the man who inspired the film The Terminal (which starred Tom Hanks).
In an interview, Tee-M had stated: “I would at least like
to hand him the single, let him know that hey, somebody wrote a
song for him in ‘95 long before Tom Hanks and Spielberg made
that movie The Terminal inspired by him in 2004. Merhan’s
‘Alfred’ story is one of the most bizarre ones out there.
The guy has been sitting at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris for
more than 16 years now.”
‘Man Without A Country’ is a poignant song, especially
once you know what drove Tariq to pen it down. He sings: “Why
can’t I just be a plain old citizen of the world/About six
years ago I came to Paris/And ever since then, I’ve been stranded
at the airport/Now Terminal One is the place I call home/There’s
no telling when I’m gonna find me a passport/So until then,
I’m a man without a country”. The song gets full stars
for being uniquely themed and emotive.
With a short-lingering ‘Life’, another bluesy ‘You
Go On’ and followed by an instrumental ‘Quiet Night
By The Ocean’, Tee-M’s Earthiotic (a word coined by
the musician to depict global patriotism), comes to a curtain-call.
And my prediction? This won’t be the last we’ll be hearing
the CD NOW!
****Just get it
***Maybe maybe not
**Just download the best song
*Forget that this was made