Review: Coke Studio Season 4 Episode 1: Mizraab, Kuch Hai

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One word: EPIC. Apart from Bilal Khan, I was anticipating Mizraab’s performance just as much. This time, the performance went beyond my expectations. Everyone knows of Faraz Anwar’s reputation of melting faces with his hot solos, and his ability to create acoustic anthems like “Kitni Sadiiyaan”. When I first heard of Mizraab’s inclusion into Coke Studio this season, I had hoped they would do “Ujhaalon Mein”, as it seemed like one of those songs that would work in a lounge setting. Once Kuch Hai was announced, I was curious to hear what they’d do with their slot. I hadn’t heard this song previously, so came into it without any preconceptions on what it “should” sound like.

The song starts off with an ominous gait, highlighted by the vocal stylings of Mannan, a great complimentary addition to Faraz and the Viccaji’s. This is as ominous as Coke Studio gets. And what’s that? CELLO?? Finally. A string section that sounds complete, and just in time for the perfect song. The orchestral sound that comes with the added instruments really pushes to a lofty perch, where it surveys the soundscape created by Faraz and company. From this vantage point, the song changes ‘acts’ and settles into a nest of contemplation. Leaving ominous behind, The vocals and lyric structure bends creative norms that Pakistani’s just don’t get exposed to in their music industry. Refreshing, to say the least.

As the song kicks into the chorus, I can’t help but think this track would make a great James Bond theme. Might be the strings. The other weird thing that enters my mind is how much it reminds me of Japanese arena rock, with the vocal style and melody structure. Just like that, the piece transitions into the ominous groove as Faraz takes control with an acoustic solo. Beautiful, something very few Pakistani’s are capable of composing and executing. The past five minutes seemed timeless, as the song takes another turn, a light interlude before jumping into the chorus. Wonderful transition, as Faraz pushes his voice to its limits, faltering once but coming off as a character move rather than a miscalculation. The song transitions yet again into the ominous groove (I don’t know what else to call it, clearly). Faraz throws in another solo, this time harmonizing with his own voice. So awesome.. Mannan, with the help of Rachel and Zoe, brings the song full circle as it ends in a swirl of mystic defiance.