Karachi based musician Asadullah Qureshi sent us tracks from his favorite experimental bands in Pakistan. Enjoy the ride through the Pakistani underground with main focus on the noise and industrial scene.
I am going to preface this by mentioning that the article was originally going to focus on the noise/industrial scene in Pakistan but 2 bands does not exactly constitute a scene so we will talk about some of the more left-field musicians in the Pakistani underground instead.
This is a personal favourite. As of now, the only thing we know about Khabees is that it is a noise/industrial act from somewhere inside Pakistan that seeks to explore our almost fetishistic fascination with religion and our everyday reality, terrorism. I like Khabees because of how uneasy it makes me feel. It is easier to dismiss Westerners exploring similar themes. This, on the other hand, is hard to ignore. No edgy BDSM references, no borderline pedophilia or rape fantasies. Real death and misery. Listen at your own peril.
Necktarium is a one-man act from the nefarious yet elegant bowels of Rawalpindi that plays atmospheric black metal with shoegaze sensibilities. It is a shame it rarely ever gets mentioned outside of “metal” circles because Necktarium is probably the earliest and only practitioner of this sort of music in Pakistan. Velvet Cacoon fans take note.
Drone/ambient duo from Karachi/Waterloo who happen to be the most prolific band from Pakistan that nobody in the country seems to care about. Part of their charm is their GYBE like cynicism and the fact that their song titles read like something off a grindcore album. Mind you, both members are of Pakistani extraction. The guy in Canada relocated a few years ago. I love these guys.
Ambient/psych folk from Karachi. Another project that has sadly been ignored by the very little press the Pakistani experimental scene gets. At the risk of sounding corny, there is something oddly nurturing about Slow Spin’s sound, like a more ethereal Grouper with a teenage Elizabeth Fraser handling vocal duties. Surrender yourselves!
Nawksh Delivery Service
Another anonymous project. The first time I heard Nawksh is on a compilation that my band members put together and I was instantly blown away. Nawksh Delivery Service does really interesting, almost bipolar music in that sometimes it reminds one of Boards of Canada and the later works of Boredoms and other times, it sounds like lo-fi music from the American Midwest. Kick-ass stuff!
Multinational Corporations are a group of politically aware metal-punks from Lahore, Pakistan who play a style of music which is equal parts hardcore and metal. You can definitely hear a lot of Doom, Napalm Death, Terrorizer etc. in their music but it is still relaxed enough to appeal to fans of old-school hardcore punk and probably even thrash metal. If not for the music, listen to them for their lyrics.
Kafir-e-Azam is basically me and a friend from Lahore. Kafir-e-Azam is more of a studio (or bedroom) affair because we live about 1300 km away from each other. We love stuff like Blood and Assuck. We have one release under our belt: a split with fellow audio terrorist, Bvlghvm, from Rawalpindi.