Shamoon

Bilal Maqsood on Shamoon Ismail:

“I don’t understand what he does!” chuckles Bilal. “But it works. His songs are very good, but how does he make them? I don’t know. There’s this mystery around the way he performs or writes his songs. Maybe I’m getting too old, I don’t understand his process. The final outcome is always very good. What could I possibly tell him to do? [So I said] ‘Jo banana hai banao [Make whatever you want to] but you have to be on my stage’.”

There are two interesting threads to this comment. One, that this moment in time heralds a new generation of Pakistani pop emerging from global influence enabled by the internet. This music, its audience and its methods are in many ways fundamentally different from the 60s rock inspired generations of Pakistani pop of the 90s and 2000s.

The second is the mystery around Shamoon, which is not just a function of old musicians and commentators not understanding what he does but rather a curated persona, executed through limited public appearances and a general aloofness both inside the music and around it. In some ways one can tell that Shamoon can push his own music farther, but he doesn’t, for it appears, he doesn’t care. That’s the beauty of it. This recording from Velo Sound Station makes generous use of autotuned vocals, a choice Shamoon makes for his own vocals since he produces the song.

The video is age restricted because Velo is a tobacco brand.