When the “Coke Studio” phenomenon took off three years ago, the fusion of music took everybody by storm. Pakistan’s popular artistes got a platform that allowed them to experiment with their music, and create songs worth listening to. “Coke Studio” was accused of selling soda bottles instead of contributing to the music industry but, on the contrary, it can’t be ignored that in the last few years the most celebrated tracks from the Pakistani music industry are from “Coke Studio” sessions. It has even managed to attract an audience across the border.
The year 2011 saw a relatively raw version of “Coke Studio”, known as “Uth Records”. The treatment was quite similar to that of “Coke Studio”; every episode started off with a behind the scenes with the artists discussing the song to be performed and, after going through the creative sessions, the episode eventually led up to the final version of the song. “Uth Records” was sponsored by a telecommunication company and had two music producers on board, including Omran Shafique and Gumby who were responsible for producing songs much like Rohail Hayat in “Coke Studio”.
Despite all these similarities, “Uth Records”, with its very low budget music video production (compared to the sets of “Coke Studio”), managed to pull off the greater task of introducing new talent in the market, making them work with industry professionals and, finally, making stars out of them.
Here is the list of artists and songs:
Jumbo Jutt featuring Faraz Anwar’s “Jumbo Jutt”
Jumbo Jutt’s band members include Mohammad Ali Suhail on vocals and lead guitar, Syed Saad Shams on bass, Adeel Hussain on drums and Omar Kapadia on rhythm guitar. Jumbo Jutt’s track “Jumbo Jutt” is a typical rock song. The collaboration with the legendary Faraz Anwar just adds value to the band’s already mature sound. However, overall the song is just another rock song like many half-hearted tracks that have come out after the success of bands like EP and Call. All in all, a good job.
Yasir and Jawad’s “Reidi Gul”
Whatever has been written about this band is less. This band of music lovers studying at Government College, Lahore and originally hailing from Khyber-Pakhtunkwa, has become the identity of “Uth Records”. The band comprises Yasir Rehman on the traditional rubaab, Jawad Iqbal on rhythm guitar and Wali Orakzai as the lead vocalist. Way to go Y and J, the best is yet to come.
Usman Riaz featuring Ali Noor’s “Hum Tum”
After his recently released song “Firefly” we all knew that Usman Riaz is more than just a talented instrument player. However, Ali Noor’s collaboration with him literally killed his style of music. By the end of, it sounds just like another Noori song, which is not the purpose of “Uth Records”. All aside, Riaz is immensely talented.
Natasha Ejaz’s “Right Way to Fall”
Having studied eastern classical singing, Natasha is currently pursuing a certificate in audio production in Malaysia. Influenced and inspired by genres such as acoustic/jazz, indie, folk, dream-pop and alternative music, Natasha has been around doing theater, dance, acting and singing. “Right Way to Fall” is a track worth listening to. The electronic feel to it just adds more value to her phenomenal vocals. Though she might not be able to make it beyond radio play lists in Pakistan, she can create wonders.
Athar Saani’s “Jaane Kyun”
Winner of the “Pakistan Sangeet Icon 2”, Athar is a great find for “Uth Records”. Earlier, in the talent hunt, only his vocal side was explored. However, “Jaane Kyun” reveals his great composing abilities. Though he sounds very much like Sonu Nigam, he is the only artist of “Uth Records” who seems to have a bright future ahead because the kind of melodies he produces - a mixture of eastern classical and pop music - appeal to most listeners in Pakistan.
Raamlal’s “Naughty Boy”
Consisting of musicians Mohammad Fazli on lead vocals and guitar, musician and audio engineer Muhammad Agha on guitar and backing vocals, the band members are currently in the process of recording their first album. The band seems to be very Elvis inspired and is definitely unorthodox - producing contemporary music and even more contemporary lyrics. If the members make it big, they will have a cult following.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2011.
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