Temple of Sound
People's Colony No. 1
Compact Disc: RealWorld 7243 8 50789 2 7
By Srajan Ebaen
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Genre: Qawwali dub by the nephews of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Pakistani Qawwali, due to the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's immense popularity, has undergone a strange revival in the underground scene of dub artists who were quick to realize that the unhinged, top-of-the-lungs wordless emoting of this vocal trance style lent itself perfectly for the club house culture of pierced body art aficionados looking for a new musical high.
Rather than waiting for posterity to transform their vocal exploits into sequenced snippets as happened to their uncle, Rizwan and Muazzam Mujahid Ali Khan, with People's Colony No. 1, practice the old advice for preemptive action. With the pounding
tablas-on-steroids help of Neil Sparkes and Count Dubulah of Temple of Sound, the brothers turn their vocal Chinese acrobatics into a jagged high-energy nouveau disco attack on the senses.
If the virtue of youth is the hardwired belief of immortality that withstands excesses of all kinds, then the relative youth of the Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali party provides the perfect foundation for the second half of this equation. Unrestrained, bursting with the fervor of ability, passion and an experimental spirit that is justified and fulfilled in the raw act of doing it - whatever it happens to be or become -- People's Colony No.1 isn't music that one listens to. It's music on the move, kinesthetic, raw, wild, kicking you in the butt with an invite to get down and let
While the roots for this singing style are very traditional, Nusrat's boundary-shattering example nearly begged all potential successors to carry his flag to virgin, as-yet-to-be-conquered stylistic peaks. Whether the Colony's current habitat above wildly fluctuating techno pulses remains their permanent dwelling place or just a temporary stop on the road remains to be seen. I see it more as an experimental stage that growing maturity will eventually leave behind, but, for the time being, one has to admit that this insane stuff is just plain, out-there fun. Truly, only someone highly trained in this particular vocal art has the proper tools to engage in this type of futuristic enterprise without having to rely on voice coder or other digital tricks. That the fundamental spirit of qawwali is so strongly grounded in devotional religion makes this development doubly interesting. It's as though, in order to escape the narrow confines of traditional religious forms and reach the large multitudes of thirsty yet hip and contemporary youth, this spirit had to spread its wings and descend into what to some of its elders might have looked like a rather hellish place: the underground culture of raves and techno.
Don't reach for this album if you expect a relaxing outing in front of your dialed-to-the-max audiophile speakers. However, if you want to spread the infectious gospel of Enjoy The Music in your 'hood, open your windows, flick this disc into your spinner, pump of the volume and goose the sub while you're at it. Then open the trunk of your funky wheels to install the latest go-faster mod and wait for the crowds to gather in your yard. They'll ask what the hell you're listening to before they'll venture inside and make themselves at home. Just make sure you have the proper liquid libations in your fridge, or you'll be asked to hit the road and get with the program. Recommended, but only for the young at heart and wild of spirit.