Powerful sounds from Pakistan. Here emerges JAUBI, a largely instrumental sextet based in Lahore, with their debut album Nafs at Peace. A captivating range of ideas gleaned from recording sessions where “nothing whatsoever was written down…no sheet music and no song titles, which allowed the six musicians to forget about their worldly issues.” Woodwinds, tablas, guitars, and keyboards feature throughout, laying intricate groundwork for the sarangi, a short-necked Indian string instrument, to weave both prominently and reservedly among each of the seven tracks.
The heart-tugging, choral introduction of “Seek Refuge” guides us through the album’s front door, where earnest and funky North Indian-inspired grooves on songs like “Zari” and “Insia” keep us encased inside its worldly confines. The album closer (and title track) is a broad, eight minute jazz-scape of a tune, standing ground as a sonic pillar to the complete oeuvre.
JAUBI explains the Nafs at Peace title to mean “the last purification step the self has been through. At this level, the self no longer struggles…” Of the choice to record with no preconceived ideas? “In many ways, the journey represents a struggle and an expression of gratitude and an acknowledgement that the musician’s inspiration comes from a higher power.” It’s spiritual music pleading to the listener—altogether a piece and product of belief. | k fortinsky