Natasha Humera Ejaz’s latest EP Till The End Of Time was officially launched this weekend at the Full Circle Gallery in Karachi.
The launch was made special by the art showcase that was designed to complement the EP's four songs . Two installations were created by Natasha herself, while the other two were designed by fellow indie musician Nadir Shahzad of Sikandar ka Mandar fame and actor Mariam Saleem.
The launch kicked off with a live acoustic performance. Natasha opened the set with her effortless cover of ‘Aaj Janay Ki Zidd Na Karo’. It seemed she was nervous about this cover, as she referred to an acquaintance and said “Aunty, you will have to forgive me for this”. But it was clear that the audience appreciated the honeyed tones in her rendition.
Following the cover song, the band performed the EP's songs; namely ‘Khwab’, ‘Raqeeb’, ‘The God Song’ and ‘Till The End Of Time’. While the first three songs were released online a couple of months before the launch, this was the audience's first time hearing 'Till The End Of Time'. This song is extra special for Natasha – in it, she imagines a conversation with her father.
The visual complement added an interesting dimension to the musical experience. The installation with the most impact was ‘The God Song’. This installation was meant to exemplify “mysticism and fantasy”, and the aim was achieved to a large extent.
A single light source cast several shadows, and created patterns that captured the people's fancy. The smell of incense made it a serene experience. Some visitors also moved the suspended cuboid and enjoyed the visual experience of the shifting patterns.
The 'God Song' installation overshadowed the others. Natasha's ‘Khwab’ installation consisted of a projection of the song's music video on a wall of a room with a chair and a birdcage surrounded by lit diyas.
A note explaining the installation said, “The space for Khwab will enable the audience to introspect and discover their hopes and dreams”. While the lyrics impress on the listener ideas about exploring one's dreams, the installation did not move the observer to reflect on their own. But we can put that down to an individual's subjective experience of art.
The ‘Raqeeb’ space was designed by Mariam Saleem, who also created an armchair setting for the viewing of the song's video. The installation doubled as the launch of the song's brand new video, made in collaboration with Kohi Marri and Shahrukh Khurshid. With the framed pictures of couples from different societies and time, it looked like something out of a Wes Anderson movie.
The idea was to reinforce the meaning of the song, that is, convincing yourself that you can find love again. According to a note explaining the exhibit, the installation brought together discrepant pieces together, signifying that sometimes love is about finding a comfy little space in situations that are far from comfortable.
The ‘Till the End of Time’ installation was designed by Nadir Shahzad, who chose to recreate the Natasha's old room in Malaysia, where she was studying music.
It was where Natasha wrote this song, and Nadir wanted to give the visitors a feel of that significant time in her life. However, one wondered why the exhibit had no relation to Natasha's father, who is a central character is the song.
All in all, the installations were a novel way to launch an album in Karachi, where music is seldom released in the first place. At a time when people rarely invest in buying physical copies of music, the exhibit served as a more fitting musical complement to Natasha's songs.
The hope is it piqued the curiosity of more than just Natasha's existing fanbase and was an experience of discovery for them.