Music connects people and extends beyond borders – so does the Internet. Through both we are capable of reaching the whole world, enjoying unlimited access to information. We, a group of students, musicologists, and musicians at the Humboldt University of Berlin aimed to reach out to contemporary artists from mostly underground music scenes in Pakistan. An interview with Anaasir aka Alien Panda Jury about his hybrid music project «Mandal».
«The project is about multiculturalism and cross-cultural collaboration.»
[Somar Ashkar]: Your title «Disconnect» is remarkable, especially with regard to its mix between experimental and traditional elements. Any stories explaining this mix?
[Anaasir]: Well, first of all, «Disconnect» is the result of a collaborative project based in Nepal between Kathmandu producer Rajan Shrestha aka Phatcowlee and myself called Anaasir. The idea behind the entire project began with the concept of preserving history through music. The foundations of the track are composed of collected sounds from in and around the area of Patan in Kathmandu, some of which are reduced to a granular state to create rhythms and melodies. The second part of the concept was to include Nepali folk instruments into the projection of modern day music. The Sarangi on the track was played by Kiran Nepali an artist who is striving to keep the art of the Sarangi alive in Nepal since it is currently considered a dying musical skill.
[SA]: Through combining such elements with a short non-western improvisation, do you want to attract audiences not just in Pakistan but also in other countries with similar cultural or musical identities?
[AS]: Absolutely, the entire project is about multiculturalism and cross-cultural collaboration, so that’s very much the aim.
[SA]: After your concert in Berlin, what was your impression and did the interaction with the audience meet your expectations?
[AS]: It was an unreal experience, the audience exceeded my expectations. The thing about playing in a place like Berlin is that every other person makes music in some way or form, I felt that the gap between you as a performer and the listener is very small as compared to other places.
[SA]: Could you give us an idea about the artists – if any – who influenced your music style and are a source of inspiration for you?
[AS]: This would end up being an extremely long list but in a nutshell I’d say just off the surface some of the most important ones would be Pink Floyd, Boards of Canada, Clark, Godspeed you! Black Emperor, Aphex Twin and Tori Amos (to name a few).
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> Pakistani music streaming service: www.patari.pk