Faraz Anwar

Abstract Point of View

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Neo-progressive is a good tag for this smooth and determined instrumental music from Faraz Anwar, the five and a half minutes of "Don't Ever Let Your Spirit Die" displaying a threatening sequence of sounds that convey doom as well as inspiration. The guitar is the dominant force here, and when it wants to, it flies off into quick and constant sweet melodies. According to the artist's own site, this music was originally released in 2001 on the Gnarly Geezer label, with Finland's Lion Music issuing it in 2004. The material was recorded at Digital Fidelity Studios in Lahore, Pakistan and is composed, arranged and performed by Faraz Anwar except for "Last Summer" which features engineer/mixer Meekal Hasan on bass and Fahad Khan on drums. The artist claims he is on a quest to capture "the true essence of progressive sound expression," as adventurous a task as pop singer Bobby Hebb's incessant search for the Moody Blues "lost chord." Where Hebb will probably succeed in his enterprise (the vintage masters have a knack for such things), Anwar proves here that he's no slouch and just may discover a few new notes himself as he bends and shapes ideas with efficiency and imagination. The opening track, 12¾ minutes of "Through the Passage of Time," is a long (none of the songs dip below the four-minute mark) and elegant adventure with its delicate melodies and hard-hitting rock thrusts. It's a classical/symphonic approach that delivers the goods as advertised -- in abstraction. This is 99½ percent instrumental stuff, and very well played, about 14 seconds of strange vocals coming in at around the three-minute mark -- something about "white lights," with more ominous voices streaming in four minutes later. Anwar is so proficient at multiple instruments that this could be the performance of Ray Kurzweil's computers from his book The Age of Spiritual Machines and no one would be the wiser! The closing track, "Why," is filled with extraordinarily gifted passages, guitars singing in unison then drifting back into a sea of complex musical movements. Faraz is a real find whose work also appears on Dusk's Hearts of Darkness as well as the Pakistani group Mizraab's albums Panchiand Maazi Haal Mustaqbil.

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