A sparsely populated venue at the launch of FXS Collections Volume 3. — Photo by author
A sparsely populated venue at the launch of FXS Collections Volume 3. — Photo by author

Karachi’s local indie-electronic label Forever South (FXS) has been making waves lately, what with all that they're involved in musically — the Lahore Music Meet, Storm in a Tea Cup or even private shows in the city.

But the sad fact remains: the audience turn-out at their third collective album launch was highly disappointing.

Titled FXS Collections Volume 3, the launch which was held last week at the Canvas Art Gallery in Karachi failed to draw huge crowds, even when FXS is a name Pakistani music lovers are finally familiar with.

While it was dejecting to see a crowd-cum-group of only 20 people show up, those who did attend weren’t reluctant to express their support with some cheers here and there. There were mini performances by the Forever South co-founders Dynoman and Rudoh along with a closing performance by Tollcrane.

Retaining exclusivity:

All three sets gave the audience a taste of what some of Karachi’s finest electronic producers are capable of. After attending a couple FXS gigs over the past two years, I learned that one will find each performance to be noticeably different from the previous event, ensuring that sense of exclusivity in every gig.

Tollcrane works on his electronic tunes.— Photo by author
Tollcrane works on his electronic tunes.— Photo by author

The performances at the album launch had more upbeat electro-pop vibes as compared to their more ambient and dark experimental sounds at some previous gigs.

Music needs money to survive:

The performances were on the gallery roof-top decorated with fairy lights around the make-shift ‘stage’ and arrangements were made for tea and water for the audience. Since the main point of the event was to highlight the new album, a table was set in the corner with stacks of CDs being sold for just Rs200.

However, barely anyone was buying the albums.

Table stacked with CDs.— Photo by author
Table stacked with CDs.— Photo by author

Why people don't support local musicians by actually buying their music is still a mystery, considering the same amount of money is spent on countless other things. People in Pakistan are yet to learn what supporting music truly means and towards the end of the event Dynoman distributed the albums for free as not many people were buying them.

Is the current lot forced to become a DIY music generation?

Although this event was marketed well, it couldn’t do as good as the previous FXS album launch held last year when Dynoman launched his first album Travels to Janaicah: Cheebay’s Imagination at Amin Gulgee’s Gallery.

Dynoman performing at the launch— Photo by author
Dynoman performing at the launch— Photo by author

The event was a great success as a decent amount of people showed up and a number of people bought the album as well. The label has considerably evolved and know what they’re doing but perhaps the only problem (a core one too) still remains: the lack of acceptance for local musicians and their efforts.

There’s only so much this DIY (Do It Yourself) generation of Pakistani musicians can do, there comes a point when it’s necessary to meet them half way.

Why Indie-electronic lovers should buy *FXS Collections Volume 3:*

The album consists of 11 tracks by some of Karachi's most underrated experimental electronic producers such as 'Alien Panda Jury', 'Al Ak', 'TMPST' and 'Smax'.

Rudoh sets the tunes.— Photo by author
Rudoh sets the tunes.— Photo by author

When it comes to music, there is always a never ending debate regarding electronic music versus ‘real music’, but after listening to album it was clear that these producer under the Forever South umbrella really know how to add some soul into their music.

What’s most interesting about this album is how some of the producers on the album use samples from songs by mainstream musicians like Norah Jones and Adele, and add their own experimental touch, giving the songs a completely different electro take.

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