Welcome again to another round of, “More Musical Storytime, Less Musical Review”. For this week’s write up, I’m covering more, an Artist than a specific album. Specifically, Arooj Aftab, a Pakistani-American artist. I have two of her album, Vulture Prince, her third album, and the Record Store Day vinyl of Live in London.
Arooj Aftab really isn’t my normal “kind of music” though honestly, I don’t really even have a “kind of music”, as I have always just, enjoyed all kind of music. I’ve listened to plenty of pop, rock, country, hip hop, and, somewhat experimental style minimalist Pakistani music. Or whatever the genre here would be. Anyway, it’s time for a bit of fun story time.
Back in 2020, maybe 2021, it’s all kind of a blur, during the COVID lock downs, I started watching a lot of online concert streams, mostly artists I had heard of, since a lot of these were paid streams. I couldn’t go to any concerts, so why not at least support the artists and watch some online concerts instead. I’ve used a lot of different platforms for this, maybe one day I will do a run down of the options out there. In August of 2021, I was going to catch a stream for Molly Tuttle, a finger picking blue grass musician, performing at Red Rocks Amphitheater, streamed through a site Mandolin.com.
This was the first time I had used Mandolin.com, and unfortunately, the stream was riddle with issues. I don’t think an entire song was played in full during the entire stream. It kept dropping and breaking up. I wasn’t super worried about it or even particularly upset, these streams tend to have a pretty affordable entry fee, so no big loss. Mandolin ended up issuing a refund for the stream, AND a credit for future use within the next 6 months or so.
I kept an eye on their schedule for any other streams I would be interested in, but nothing really came up on my radar, and my credit came up on “about to expire”. So i picked a couple of shows that seemed like they might be interesting, one was Courtney Barnett and the other was Arooj Aftab.
For lack of a better way to describe the draw, after the brief bit of research I did, Arooj Aftab struck me as the kind of “weird hipster shit” that I tend to find appealing. And it turns out that it, well, her music kind of is. Also, don’t take the “weird hipster shit” as a derogatory, it’s just, an apt meme-ish description.
So anyway, I enjoyed the show. While perusing Bandcamp for music to add to my little list of “bookmarks for Bandcamp Fridays.” I found that Arooj Aftab has a page there and I decided to buy her (at the time), current album, Vulture Prince.
I hard to really get into the specifics of what I like about this album and it’s tracks, mostly because, half of it, probably more, is not in English. There are some English tracks, but it’s mostly sung in Urdu. Most of my judgement is on the music itself. Wikipedia suggests her style is Jazz and Minimalism, which I would agree is pretty apt. I just mostly find the songs quite relaxing. It’s all long drawn out vocalization and has a sort of “chanting” vibe to it. The musical parts of very light and rambling. It’s music you can just sort of sit back and get lost in.
Anyway, earlier this year during Record Store Day, I noticed there was an Arooj Aftab vinyl available, Live in London, and it was pretty affordable, it may have actually be the lowest priced item on the RSD selection, so I grabbed that as well. I think it only shares one track with Vulture Prince, but it’s a lot of the same sort of vibe and feel. It also is a nice looking red colored vinyl, though colored vinyls are kind of everywhere.
Anyway, if you’re looking for some interesting low key music to chill out with, Arooj Aftab can certainly fill that need.