Jaubi / Nafs At Peace / Astigmatic Records

After accompanying Tenderlonious on his Ragas From Lahore, there`s now more from Jaubi. The Pakistani quartet released their own LP, Nafs At Peace, last Friday. Together with guest appearances from Tenderlonious, and keyboardist, Mark Pedziwiatr – of EABS – they have mapped out a music journey, which sets off in search of god, with the aim of cleansing the soul. With its roots in the teachings of the Qur`an, the process finds the players working their way through life’s obstacles, disappointments, and their personal demons. Demonstrating close to telepathic communication, the totally improvised pieces are an exercise in shedding the ego in order to submit to a greater, universal, serenity. Starting from heavenly harmonies – movements for sarangi, electric piano, and thumbed guitar – the music travels through to funky fusions – driven by Qammar Abbas` dynamite drumming – rolls and cymbals crashing – as keys ascend, in psychedelic spirals. On the raga, Gurji Todi, the strings of Zohaib Hassan Khan`s sarangi emit an almost human voice – uncannily like a call to prayer, while droning reeds shift slowly, like smoke. Both instruments then accelerating toward lift off and inner space flight. Kashif Ali Dhani`s tumbling tabla accompanying a free-for-all fit for the feet of fleet angels.

Straight Path begins as a lullaby, a soothing serenade, intro`d by a plugged-in Pedziwiatr and Tenderlonious` flute. As it continues a synth`s cosmically Moog-ing tones echo the sarangi`s lush lead. Creating 7 and a half minutes of super cool calm.

The tightly locked rhythm section makes Zari dance. Alternating between and gentle stretches of paired percussion and woodwind, and dizzying bass bumping boogie. Ali Riaz Baqar`s perfect guitar picking harp-like in places, and again, the sarangi`s distinctive song – providing the hook. 

On the closing title track, Khan reaches his peak, his virtuosity resulting in incredible, long, sustained, vibrations – the bowed instrument`s equivalent of ecstasy – which command the modal groove. The piano, acoustic now, playing in near classical waves. The saxophone soaring, rasping and raw, high above. The collective converging in a final, climatic, joyful, noise. 

You can purchase Jaubi`s Nafs At Peace directly from Astigmatic Records. 

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