I grew up listening to a very diverse range of eastern music. While my father always played Mehdi Hassan, Noor Jehan and Ahmed Rushdi in the car’s tape, my mother always showed her love for Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. I was also exposed to the music of many Pakistani bands and individual artists. Growing up, I found my inspiration in Atif Aslam’s albums but I always had a special place in my heart for Pakistani bands. The music which Pakistani bands like Vital Signs, Junoon, Strings, Aaroh, Entity Paradigm and Jal produced made history and got fame world-wide. Also historically, Pakistani music industry did a saw decline which I believe now is in the reviving phase with the advent of many bands and individual artists.
Enough for the context; the post is dedicated to the work of a very talented group musicians. It is safe to say that they are one of the biggest bands of Pakistan. We will talk about “Bayaan” and their EP (extended play; generally shorter than an album comprising 4 to 6 songs) “Chaar Saal”. This progressive/rock band is comprised of five members Asfar Hussain (lead vocalist), Shah Rukh, Haider Abbas, Muqeet Shehzad and Mansoor Lashari (drummer). All of these people played in local gatherings and studios for a long time until “Bayaan” came into existence and they won Pepsi Battle of the Bands S3 which really pushed them into mainstream.
Now before we dive into the EP, I must address why it’s the point of discussion here. Good music is probably the most subjective topic one can address. If one even tries to roughly point out the essentials of a song, one may list lyrics, melody, theme and groove. I believe that the music Bayaan has produced so far check all the boxes and is playing a historic role in the revival of Pakistani music industry. “Chaar saal” is comprised of the song as follows:
· Nahin Milta
· Din Dhalay
· Hum Nadaan
· Khel Tamasha
This project (EP) is a compilation of their studio recordings from 2015-18. It’s a modern classic. The mix-tape opens up with "Nahin Milta" which I believe is a perfect combination of soothing music and meaningful lyrics. For me the verse “Jisko jo bhi milta hai, be sabab nahi milta, Mujhse bole mann mera, Sab ko sab nahi milta” is the best part of the whole project. The mellow guitars and keys in the background, building up gradually along with the vocals and then reaching a crescendo, turned this into a sonic journey. Then as soon as "Farda" comes in, the entire mood changes from being content to being hopeful. Then "Din Dhalay" comes in and takes you to a spiritual journey where you feel so peaceful yet question yourself that if you are really justifying your existence and doing something good? or you are just spending your days and nights doing nothing? And that is EXACTLY where, in my opinion, Bayaan's core strength lies; their lyricism and songwriting. All of the tracks appeal to a certain emotion within the listener and they make sure that they hold onto that, till the song ends.
The project ends with "Hum Nadaan". It is brilliant because the song really proved that they can address issues beyond the individual and talk about the collective in the most poignant of manners. I believe Hum Nadaan is one of the most unique songs of Pakistani music history in terms of music, lyrics and the theme.
This compilation EP is not just music for the sake of music. Every track on this project has a central theme, which is coherently maintained using the lyrics, the instrumentation and the overall sound. The progressive element of the band maps perfectly onto their lyrics.
The band is a gem which is redefining music by bringing something new to the table. The music isn’t limited to tapping our feet or shaking our bodies. It has been a soul searching experience for me so far. Their songs are available on platforms like Spotify, Patari, Youtube and SoundCloud. Dropping links for the EP :)