Karachi Files Will Challenge Your Perception of Pakistan
One year ago, an assortment of electronic musicians from Pakistan, the Maldives, and Germany met in Karachi; now they’re ready to go global.
For two weeks a house was transformed into a temporary recording studio. It would become a place to meet, inspire (and be inspired), record, play, eat and sometimes sleep. Out of this convening of creative musicians – and one photographer – a cross-cultural collaboration like no other was born: ‘Karachi Files’.
Karachi Files is a music project bringing together electronic musicians from Europe and Pakistan. Their works reflect the mélange of Eastern and Western influences colliding both within the project and in wider Pakistani society. They meet the challenge well, delivering a harmonious balance in these elements in a diverse variety of tracks, ranging from electronic club music to electro-acoustic experiments.
“Electronic musicians are citizens of the world, they don’t hide behind national identities, they are constantly moving, traveling, they absorb details about cultures that most people miss…”
– Alec Empire (Atari Teenage Riot, Berlin)
Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey (aka Alien Panda Jury) is a singer, songwriter, bassist, and producer hailing from Karachi itself, and become involved in the project through the musical collective ‘Forever South’.
“Personally, I’ve sung, played bass, keys, sequenced drums, arranged a track and sampled lots on the project itself. Karachi Files came into being last summer when Gerbruder Teichmann and a few others flew down here to live together and collaborate” Daniel explains.
His interpretation of the project is that “it exists to bridge cultural divides using music as one universal language”.
“Hopefully it’ll allow some people to understand that if 12 people from different backgrounds can leave their egos and hang-ups at the door for 2 weeks and make a boatload of music to last you days then anyone can do it. I hope this international collaboration will destroy a lot of myths about Pakistan, its security and its people.”
Karachi Files challenges these myths – fuelled by selective media coverage of extremism and sectarian violence – by showing off Pakistan’s unique flavour of DIY, experimental culture.
“Hopefully it’ll make people in countries other than Pakistan realise we’re forward thinking, educated, progressive people that just want to live life and make music”
Leading up to the release of Karachi Files this month (27th May), the group recently performed in Berlin during the three-day “From Inside To Way Out” festival, which showcased the works of a wide range of Pakistani musicians, filmmakers, photographers, journalists, and artists.
Soundcamp Karachi in May 2015 is a project hosted by Goethe-Institut in cooperation with Adaptr.org. Curated and directed by Andi & Hannes Teichmann, Haamid Rahim and Bilal Nasir Khan.
Photography – Pablo Lauf