The big five
From bluesy, pop debuts to rock galore, the second half of 2008
is promising to be an even bigger bang. As the newcomers and giants
of the music industry gear up for album releases, Instep gives you
the five albums to watch out for this year!
Release: September 2008
the first half of 2008 was made excited by Strings and their return
with Koi Aanay Wala Hai, the second half belongs to Ali Azmat.
In 2005 he stunned some of the harshest critics of Junoon with his
solo record, Social Circus.
But if Social Circus was about introversion, Klashinfolk is about
extroverted side of life.
Recorded at Mekaal Hasan's Digital Infidelity studio, the album
sees Ali Azmat don the role of producer, singer and songwriter for
a second time.
Composition credits belong to Ali while he has jolted some of the
lyrics himself with a few others with noted lyricist Sabir Zafar.
for the sound, it really is a 360 degree turn for Ali. Having heard
a few ditties such as 'Sawaal', 'Gallan' and 'Balaman', it is clear
that the electronic wizardry, one first heard on Social Circus,
has disappeared altogether.
this time Ali Azmat has attempted an edgier and raw sound.
The influences range from Steely Dan to Coldplay and Radiohead among
"I call it urban folk music," explained Ali Azmat while
speaking on his hotly-anticipated new album. "The name Klashinfolk
is not just inspired from the gun culture we live in but the general
chaos and the uncertainty that surrounds us," concluded Ali.
While one driving force behind Social Circus were the synthesized
sounds, on Klashinfolk it is all about live music.
"We rehearsed and then played the album out and it took us three
days to do it. It is a live album and nothing like Social Circus,"
clarified Ali about the sound.
Another interesting development on Klashinfolk is the line-up it includes.
Other than Ali Azmat, the players on Klashinfolk include Omran Shafique
on guitars, Kamran Zafar aka Manu on bass guitars and lord of drums
With two videos, one with Zeeshan Parwez and another shot in India,
Ali is looking at September as his release. And we can bet, Klashinfolk
will be as unpredictable a record as the man behind it.
Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan
Release: September 2008
last time we heard Shafqat, he was singing the tunes of Ramchand Pakistani
and proving yet again that when it comes to vocal magic, he is unbeatable.
Post-Fuzon, there have been a number of stories about what Shafqat
will be doing. So for the record, the big man with the bigger voice
is not doing an album with Rohail Hyatt and neither is he planning
on releasing a Sufi album.
Shafqat is picking up from where Fuzon left off. But he promises that
it won't be another Saagar. It'll be different and hopefully better.
In between offers from Bollywood, Shafqat has been wrapping up his
solo album and he will wear the hat of singer, lyricist and songwriter
on the album.
haven't decided on a name yet but I am definitely looking to release
my album in September 2008," Shafqat confirmed to Instep.
Even though the album is being backed by an Indian record label, Shafqat
is still working with musicians from this side of the border, to make
sure that the signature Bollywood sound doesn't creep in from the
Shafqat has revealed that even though most of the album will be sequenced,
the live sound has contributions from Imran Akhund, famous for collaborations
with Shehzad Roy, plays the guitars while Sajid is on flute and Shani
takes on the role of the producer.
"I was planning a Sufic album but as I went along, I realized
that it was something else so I won't call it a Sufi album,"
As for the sound, it'll tip towards the softer, mellow side with concentration
Here's one solo effort that'll definitely be something. With Shafqat's
classical background and understanding of the reach of pop, this record
will be one hell of a listen!
three youngsters from Kaavish, Jaffer Zaidi, Maaz Maudood and Raheel,
first shot to the limelight with their beautiful single, 'Bachpan'
and since then there has been no looking back for this trio.
Now in 2008 we will finally see Kaavish release their debut record,
Gunkali. For those unaware of the meaning of their title, it refers
to a morning raag, which Kaavish interpret as a beginning for them.
Their name Kaavish meanwhile means struggle.
Yes, these boys have struggled but they haven't compromised on their
up with music producer and engineer Faisal Rafi - who co-produced
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's Charkha and
played engineer to some tunes on Strings's Koi Aanay Wala Hai -
Kaavish have aimed for complete live instrumentation on their album.
While front man Jaffer Zaidi dons the role of composer, Maaz, Daniel
alongside Jaffer and various others including Nayyara Noor (Jaffer's
mother) and Anwar Maqsood have penned the lyrics.
As for the music, it's definitely different. Having heard the rough
cut of this album, it has to be said that Gunkali is for 2008 what
Fuzon's Saagar was for 2003, a purely delightful melodic record.
Kaavish have even re-done their released singles, 'Bachpan', 'Choti
Khushiyan' and 'Tere Pyar Mein' to make sure that these tunes get
the right treatment under the watchful eyes of their producer Faisal
Some of the biggest names from the music industry have played on
this album. They include drummer Gumby, guitarists Omran Shafique,
Aamir Zaki, Abbas Premjee, Shallum Xavier as well as the band itself.
One interesting bit about this album is the concentration on soft,
slower melodies and the focus on piano, an instrument that somehow
gets neglected in our music scene.
Heartbreaking, melancholic and truly beautiful, we bet Gunkali will
be one of the best albums you'll hear… ever.
Zeb Bangash and Haniya Aslam
Release: July 2008
far as female voices go in the mainstream music scene of Pakistan,
we're sorely lacking behind the world.
Not since Nazia Hassan and Hadiqa Kiyani have we been so excited by
two female musicians. And they are Zeb Bangash and Haniya Aslam, the
two girls who first made buzz with their single, 'Chup'.
With a couple of shows behind them, industry insiders are already
impressed by this duo and they include the likes of Rohail Hyatt,
Shahi Hasan, Zeeshan Parwez as well as countless others.
Between the two of them, they can channel voices that touch other
singing prodigies like Tina Sani, Janis Joplin, Sarah Mclachlan and
"Our songs are about universal emotions such as longing, love,
desire and loss," explained Haniya while speaking on their upcoming
not only sees the debut of Zeb and Haniya but unites them with Mekaal
Hasan who has produced the album. Other artistes involved in this
album include Gumby, Shallum Xavier, Kamran Zaffar, Co-VEN men Hamza
Jaffri, Sameer Ahmed and Sikander Mufti as well as Mauj man Omran
What separates this album from a plethora of other is its bluesy
feel. Most of the songs on this record, have, after all been composed
on the acoustic guitar.
"It has a varied flavour and mixed genres. From Eastern and
folksy songs to even Bollywood, the inspiration is drawn from a
number of musical styles," Haniya stated explaining the sound.
So inspired by their music that Saqib Malik has taken the task of
directing their first video, for the single, 'Aitebaar'.
Their tunes, 'Chup' and 'Chal Diye' that have been available for
download from their website has further increased interest in these
By the time this article goes in print, Zeb and Haniya's Chup should
be out in markets. So grab a copy now!
funk, its punk, its groovy… it's Mauj.
Even though Mauj have been around for a few years now, their self-titled
debut record hasn't been able to see daylight… until now.
With a record deal in hand and a video (set to be directed by Zeeshan
Parwez) in the pipeline, the band spearheaded by Omran Shafique is
all set to release their album later this year.
With tunes like 'Khushfehmi' and 'Paheliyan' and gigs all around town,
Mauj have managed to do what few others can: establish a loyal listenership
and win critics over.
Shafique remains the band's most credible asset who shares lyrical
responsibilities with Mohsin Atif and dominates the songwriting
aspect of the album all by himself.
their singles like 'Mona', 'Baat Barti Gayi' and 'Awaaz', it is
clear that this is not a one-hit or even two-hit wonder band.
With solid compositions, rock and funk galore, Mauj are hugely different
from the other rock acts. Their songs have the kind of punk fun
that reminds one of British acts like The Libertines and The Kills.
The words can be sarcastic at times, solemn and introspective at
other times, just like the tunes.
Their live shows - with
Omran Shafique on vocals/guitars, Sikander Mufti on drums, Hamza
Jaffri on rhythm guitars and Sameer Ahmed on bass - are fiery and
with their record coming out, these shows will become even more
Mauj don't make kill-yourself-depressing music, but even so they
attempt the more restrained and complex of emotions as far as songwriting
goes. It is this treatment of each song that sets them apart and
this is exactly why we think that their debut will be one album
to watch out for.