Listen: ‘Collections Vol. 4’ by Forever South Music
19 January 2017
Karachi based collective Forever South has just released its fourth compilation ‘Collections Vol. 4’, which showcases music from some of Pakistan’s foremost electronic artists.
The album features 13 artists, who have each contributed one song each. Fair warning, the compilation doesn’t really make much of an attempt to sound like an album – everything’s mixed together so you’re diving head first into a motley selection that spans ambient, bass, hip-hop, pop and more; the side effects of releasing music in such a tiny scene.
We were happy to see a lot of new names on the album. Smax kicks it off easy with ‘Frank’, which builds slowly and includes some great vocals towards the end. Fat synths and skittering percussion feature in Friedi’s 80s throwback ‘Kimchi’, while FXS co-founder Dynoman and Block-2 (who comes in later in the comp) take the vocal heavy, lyrically focussed pop route. TMPST’s strong, meticulously produced slow builder is a great foil for BNK’s (the artist formerly known as Rudoh, also a co-founder) energetic banger ‘Sonido’, as NAWKSH presents a sweeping, steady tune called ‘Y we fall’, peppered with manipulated vocals.
‘Mercury’ by Slowspin is dense, unhurried and subtly produced; though unfortunately a lot of its loveliness is lost for the simple reason that it does not belong in the middle of the compilation, sandwiched between heavy electronica; and as a result Al-ak’s bouncy ‘Close Enough’ sounds a bit abrupt straight after. Tollcrane delivers as usual with a twisted techno number as garbled electronics follow in Eridu’s ‘Transience’. The compilation ends with JOFU and Hatim; the former with a short, tripped out trap-influenced number and Hatim (who we recently covered on Singled Out) with another plush, swelling piece packed with distorted vocal chips and metallic synth.
To call it a mish-mash is being a bit forgiving – the compilation has a lot of different ideas and aesthetics crammed into one space. On the one hand, it isn’t cohesive at all – this isn’t something you can listen to easily from start to finish and it’s better to treat it almost like a collection of singles. On the other hand however, the variation in style, technique and idea show just how far the tiny Karachi collective have come. It’s been a labour of love that exists in a society and space where it’s difficult for contemporary music to grow (putting it lightly). The fact that FXS has managed not only to keep itself running, but flourish with so many artists coming on year after year is really commendable.
Words: Diya Gupta