With the release of Khwab, Natasha’s three fourths of the way to the complete release of her EP Till the End of Time.
Many of us were introduced to Natasha through her appearance on Uth Records:
Though on Uth Records we learnt as much from the song as we did from the behind the scenes footage. The Uth Records song wasn’t a performance as much as it was a construction. This is not to meant to be a slight, but an observation of the essence of the recording itself. Natasha’s singing, apt to the melody, is mellow. She fronts the song but is almost an accessory to the song.
You realize when you see this that this song is made by people who think music is bigger than the people in it, that individual performances must show deference to the idea of the song itself. That the art is bigger than the person. So you may come out of the song thinking of Natasha as an artist, but you don’t come out of the song thinking of Natasha as a performer.
But it was obvious to everyone close to her then that if there was one thing that Natasha was, it was a performer. She sings, she dances, she acts, it was almost as if she needed a reason to be on stage. And yet here she was in 2011, providing calming vocals while she studied audio engineering. It’s almost amusing.
If you need proof that Natasha’s friends are right, look at this:
I would imagine that people who know Natasha well are just waiting for everybody else to figure out what they know to be true. That they are in the midst of something special.
This EP takes us towards that realization.
The three songs released so far share a spiritual leaning with The Right Way to Fall (her song from Uth Records). But they are more open emotionally, more real almost in what they are trying to say.
The lyrics are more vulnerable. The music more touching. The band quite stellar. But the video is an homage to Natasha the performer. It is time that we give Natasha’s friends some company in the ‘we-get-it’ section of the audience.
But despite it all, Natasha the performer never becomes bigger than the song. The song has a definite climax – everything moves towards it, yet even when you are there you don’t ever think of Natasha being in your face unless you really look for it. The vocal reaches an impressive crescendo, but everything about the production means that the vocal crescendo doesn’t take over the song.
The analogy here is to guitar players who solo all the time, because they can. The best guitar players only solo when the song demands it. Natasha can solo, you can tell from this song. But even when she gets the song to the point where she can take all the limelight, she doesn’t. The production doesn’t do that because there’s no need to (this is perhaps as much a testament to Natasha as to Omran Shafique the producer). That’s why Natasha the performer is special, because she only shows up when it’ll mean something. Nobody likes a guitarist that’s always shredding.
Zahra Salahuddin had a great chat with Natasha alongside the release of her new video:
Images: How is ‘Khwab’ different from your other music videos?
Natasha: I think I’ve grown a lot in the last three years, so everything that I did prior to this has been really cute and adorable, according to most people. This one is darker, has a little more spunk to it. There’s absolutely nothing other than dance being explored in it, so that’s really interesting.
Totally worth the full read. But that passage in particular, gives a glimpse as to what’s happening. It seems inevitable that there will be a watershed moment, a point where this music goes beyond circles in Karachi into other cities, into the diaspora, everywhere else music from Karachi is supposed to go. The question then, the really interesting one, is how it’ll happen. What is the one moment that changes it all, the moment where we finally all see it.
For Junoon it was Inquilaab, for Ali Zafar it was Channo, for Poor Rich Boy Fair Weather Friend. I don’t know that we’re at that watershed yet, but I know we’re getting there. Because of what Natasha describes: her own growth alongside increased awareness from the audience. At some point the two lines will cross, and that will be when all the hipsters will cry that they found her first. For the moment they can enjoy themselves.