March 2011 marks the return of acclaimed acoustic/electronica duo from Peshawar, Sajid and Zeeshan, with the release of “Walk on Air”, the first single of their second album titled The Harvest. The band includes Zeeshan Parwez and Sajid Ghafoor. Ghafoor, on guitars and harmonica, writes the songs and lends his vocals to them, while Parwez on keyboards and synthesiser (synths), arranges them. Together, they have developed a style that allows Ghafoor to showcase his alternative roots, while Parwez can fulfill has passion for electronic music.
Sajid and Zeeshan burst on to the music scene in 2004, with the release of their first video, “King of Self”. Although Parwez admits, “The fact that our songs are in English means we cater to a small niche”, they soon received critical acclaim, winning an award for ‘Best Foreign Language Song’ at the 2nd Indus Music Awards. Their third single “Freestyle Dive” won awards at both the Indus Music Video Awards and Lux Style Awards. They went on to release their first album One Light Year at Snail Speed along with the release of their fourth single in August 2006.
When asked about the philosophy of the band and its music, Ghafoor explains “Our music is an expression of what we feel, with no duty to anything. As artists we do not feel an obligation towards commenting on social development or politics. However, music is in everything: from politics, economics to destruction — each has its own melody. We just express what we feel about whatever catches our attention.”
The duo is back after a hiatus of almost half a decade, and is currently in talks with record labels to release The Harvest soon. The album, Sajid says, has a more mature sound: “It is time to collect the harvest of what one has done, whether it is rewards or dire consequences,” leaving it up to the listeners to judge the album for themselves.
“Walk on Air”, like most Sajid and Zeeshan songs, is about raising standards and self development. “The song is about learning from life and what one has been through, and from that understanding, undoing it all or changing it to make things better,” said Ghafoor while speaking to The Express Tribune. The song leads to understanding and acceptance of circumstances: That after you have given it your all, you must let go and go with the flow. “If walking on the ground is not working, you must lift up, and walk on air” is the philosophy applied in writing this song.
Like all the duo’s videos, this one too is directed by Parwez himself. The video is typical of Sajid and Zeeshan, in that it is fairly low budget. Compared to the depth of the song writing, it is relatively simple: Black and white performance shots against a stark white back ground. What is interesting though, are images of people and objects in slow free fall, bringing a sense of slow realisations leading to motion and change. It is a bit of a let down for any fans of video’s like the award winning “Freestyle Dive”, and for anyone who has been following Parwez’s growing presence in the video producing industry, given his work with musicians like Ali Azmat, the Meekal Hassan Band and with projects like Coke Studio and the recent Uth Records under his belt.
The duo’s loyal fans have long awaited this, and one can only hope that the new album will bring with it gems like “King of self” and “Have to let go sometimes”.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2011.
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