For a long time, our entertainment industry has been producing generic works for our consumption.
More often than not, artists in Pakistan have taken the tried-and-tested route of pinning the success or failure of their projects on the bankability of big name stars. In the process, a lot of technical and artistic innovation has been lost.
As with any art form, there are some exceptions that forego conventional methods, stretching and challenging the boundaries set by the commercial epicenter of the industry. This periphery, which Karachi-based progressive rock band The D/A Method and production house Gali Films have chosen for their latest project 'The Desert journey', serves as a platform for young experimental artists. This is where they collaborate rather than compete, to create exciting content.
The process of sharing an artistic vision, regardless of discipline, is a tricky one. It is often an adventure between artists to arrive on the same page, with the same idea. That is how we managed to get these words on paper, after rewrites, to understand how the mesmerising sound of The D/A Method converged with Gali Films’ vibrant visuals to take us on 'The Desert Journey'.
Disclaimer: This video contains language and scenes that may be considered explicit by some viewers.
The band takes us on a journey, via their music, representing a world where people are passively going through the daily grind. It is when an awakening happens, when they find themselves isolated from their surroundings, that they realise how fragile their world is.
That theme is further expanded visually through Suhaee Abro’s Erum, traversing the harsh, hostile environment director Kamal Khan and his DOP Mo Azmi have masterfully created.
The ambitious decision to visualise a seven-minute song in a single take, void of any sneaky cuts, adds a theatrical aesthetic. With on-set ambient lighting and winding camerawork the viewer is left to witness the grit and detail of the world that Erum inhabits.
A haunting fusion between Western progressive rock and Eastern classical music lends to an immersive experience. This is made possible by acclaimed producer Bruce Soord injecting his expertise into The D/A Method’s unique sound, reminiscent of psychedelic rock from the sixties and seventies.
The marriage between visual and aural elements is evident with the ebb and flow of one complementing the other. The stakes are raised to a palpitating level, which is somewhat let down by the lack of impact felt from certain special effects considering the high standards set by its preceding acts.
It all culminates in Erum left as a mere witness to the violence that unfolds around her, the threat to her existence more prevalent than ever before. The longer she continues down the same path, the more likely she is to end up as another victim.
'The Desert Journey' leaves us wanting more. Not just from the characters, but from the musicians and filmmakers themselves. It won’t be long before we see Gali Films on the big screen and The D/A Method on the big stage, setting benchmarks with which we evaluate future productions.
(Umair Dar, Talha Alvie, Istvan Csabai, Usama Siddiq and Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey are The D/A Method)
The D/A Method will perform live in Lahore on the December 21.