KARACHI: His fans in the country and across the world know how much he has contributed to Pakistani music over the last two decades. Ace guitarist Asad Ahmed’s career has involved being part of one of the first rock bands of Pakistan, The Barbarians, playing with Vital Signs and even collaborating with Junoon, forming the band Karavan, and working with many other artists. However, Ahmed is set to make his solo debut with an album titled Rebirth. Slated for July 14 release, the album consists of ten tracks and all of them are instrumentals.
“The idea to release an instrumental album came to me when I was touring the US with Ali Zafar four years ago. I got some really good advice from the producers over there that the westerners don’t understand our language. Asad Ahmed is not going to fly with a band singing in Urdu and releasing songs in Urdu would limit it to our audience in the subcontinent,” Ahmed told The Express Tribune. “And then, my fans have been asking for years for an album. They tell me my solo pieces in songs are too short so going instrumental was the best way to universalise the album.”
Culmination of four years of writing and recording, Rebirth is not just an outcome of fans’ demands for Ahmed, but rather a personal journey. “I feel like Rebirth is me shedding my skin and coming clean. It’s about my rebirth. I’ve extensively worked for decades and while I’m proud of the work I’ve done, I feel times have changed,” he said. “I listen to Pakistani music and I listen to the music produced globally and I see ours is quite outdated. So, with Rebirth, I am saying this is the sound of the 21st century and the future.”
The album encapsulates all the Jazz, Blues and Rock influences Ahmed grew up with, and offers a wide variety of emotions in its soundscape, with tracks such as Animal, which delves into the primal instinct and the aggressive nature of humans, Bitter Sweet Love – about lovers who are together yet emotionally distant – and Drive All Night about his road journey across the American states.
Talking about the album’s opening track, Above the Clouds, he said, “I was on the plane from Karachi to Oslo, and I couldn’t sleep. So, I looked out the window and the terrain you see in the Sweden, Copenhagen and Denmark region, you see this pastured land with red mountains. So, I just picked my guitar and started playing. That’s how it came to me.”
Similarly, the hauntingly beautiful Inside the Vortex track “makes you feel like you’re in a vortex. It starts off slow and then there comes a turning point, and you go full-speed.” Further, there are tracks like Maximum Throttle and Will You, which will interest rock and hardcore metal fans. “It’s an all-out rocker. It’s got a riff, which is all-out piledriver.”
Apart from Rebirth, Ahmed shared he has enough material for his next solo album too. “Yeah, I have 10-15 more tracks, which will be part of the next album I’m planning to release next year.”
Watch the teaser here:
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