Parvaaz - Junoon (1999)

At last, as October rolled around, the flight took off! I had been impatiently waiting for Junoon's sixth album release "Parvaaz" since April, but various political and non-political reasons caused the delay. Needless to say, the wait was worthwhile. With "Parvaaz", the A-team of Junoon and Jon Alec has yet again proven to the international world of music that their talent is of extraordinary dimensions and excellence and they are ready to greet and triumph the new millennium. Junoon has got just the right mix of the traditional reverberations coexisting with the more modern sounds, giving "Parvaaz" a well-balanced, eastern and western appeal. Junoon surely has what it takes to create music, which is overflowing with energy and passion, faith and devotion, music that reaches millions regardless of their religion, race, and gender.

Not only is "Parvaaz" the flight of passion, but also it is the flight of self-determination, the flight of endurance, and above all the flight of "Reality". Reality is the theme that flows throughout the album, from the very first track to the very last. It's this very concept that has threaded together each and every composition in "Parvaaz". The lyrics and the music heavily elaborate on the reality that exists in love and in hate, in life and in death, thus dignifying "Parvaaz". Maybe that's why "Parvaaz" has a much mellower feel compared to Junoon's previous renditions, "Azadi" and "Inquilaab".

Relax your mind, body, and soul. Rid your entire system if traces of intoxicants exist. In order to capture the true essence of "Parvaaz", leave it up to Junoon to intoxicate you with "Ghoom", "Ronde Ne Naina", "Aleph", "Bulleya" and "Mitti". These sublime ballads will persuade you to venture into untried territory. The compositions are soul uplifting and will detangle you from this material world. Some may find these tunes projecting depressing thoughts and feelings, yet others will find a sense of hope hidden deep down in the concavity. The near perfect fusions are not daunting and delusional, but in essence they are inspirational and real.

With the very first track, "Bulleya", I was immediately captured. I felt closely drawn to the longing and to the spaciousness in Bulleh Shah's poetry. The album is lyrically inspired by his poetry and is also dedicated to him. Not only does Bulleh Shah's poetry have the simple grounded-ness, but also, it's beautifully simple and delicate. I felt the immense liveliness in the tracks "Bulleya", "Ab To Jaag", and "Aleph", thanks to Junoon's robust creativity. I experienced a spiritual eminence in the mystical companionship of Bulleh Shah's verbal and Junoon's musical expression. But on many occasions, the words simply overpowered the music.

I noticed that the sound of "Parvaaz" is totally massive, complex, and intertwined. They've got it all going on; drums, dhol, tabla, bass, tempura, mizerab, electric guitars, all merged into one eloquent, intense sound! And of course, Ali's voice is the cherry on the top!

"Pyaar Bina", "Sanwal", and "Sajna" are the typical hypnotic-pop attitudes Junoon is known for. These tunes are trippy and outrageously catchy; they will buzzzzzz in your head for a very long time. These pop symphonies have the required electronic fuzz, remarkable alternative guitar snarls, stupendous junooni guitar riffs, and totally enjoyable wordings. Pyar Bina's stirring sound is motivational and spirited. Junoon just loves to live the truth! When listening to "Sanwal", I could just picture Ali on a wild horse crossing a vast desert and convincing his uncertain beloved (who's clinging on to him) that after all the struggles, they're bound to reach their destiny. I simply loved the lyrics to "Sajna"! Ali is the first man on this earth to admit so bravely and boldly that he's a liar! Way to go man!

Ali's raw and passionate vocals are enticing and mysteriously appealing. Brian's bombastic bass is very much audible and has not been subdued. The ultimate combo is of maghrabi Malcolm's drums and mashriqui Aashiq's dholak; the energetic pounding has put forth the bold sound of "Parvaaz". And then there's Salman! The maestro who's guitars just totally rockkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!! Mere words just cannot explain all the elements of "Parvaaz". It's an ultimate listening experience!

I was boarded on the flight of passion, "Parvaaz"! I was flying with Junoon at an unknown altitude, beyond the limits of time and space. I was the one to determine when and where I wished to land. In the meantime, my companion Junoon presented to me the deep, synchronistic collaborations of "Parvaaz". I let them express their knowing to me, yet I did not know how much of it I was going to absorb and retain.