Dynoman: I Realised That I Was An Artist Who Evolves & Is Not Limited To A Genre Or Sound
In a way, Karachi is an anomaly. The seamless integration of conservative with unconventional defines its creative musical expression. But within its structured contours, lie esoteric nuances that transcend traditional norms of musicality. Coaxing a transcultural amalgam of dialogues within the experimental space, the city’s tryst with underground continues to celebrate the synthesis of old and new in the realm of ‘sound art’.
“I have had to teach myself everything I know,” says Haamid Rahim, better known by his moniker Dynoman and as co-founder of Forever South Music: “I may not be good at everything I do but I would like to think that I have evolved over time, and have gained enough knowledge to express myself accurately through my music. In Karachi, I collaborated with the most unique artists. I got to know my capabilities, limits and my musical story. I soon realised that I was an artist who evolves and is not limited to a genre or sound.”
His sounds are imbued with a sonority that plays with synthetic tones and organic impulses. There is a thought that migrates to progressive from static in his compositions. Through non-linear structures, Haamid weaves a web of tonal clusters that are at times fragmented in nature. There are silences in muted spaces. Every now and then, there are moments where within the periphery of the experimental lie familiar sounds. It is formless, and yet amidst fractured soundscapes and syncopated rhythms, there occurs a melodic pattern that remains unbroken.
In 2015, an eclectic group of electronic musicians from Pakistan, Maldives and Germany accompanied by the Teichmann brothers Hannes and Andi, the Forever South collective and Goethe-Institut gathered in Karachi where a house was reconstructed and transformed into a temporary recording studio. The culmination of two weeks of aural explorations led to Karachi Files – an immersive collection of digital, analogue and organic sounds weaving visceral elements of dance music with intense electro-acoustic experiments. Haamid was one of the producers from Karachi involved with the project that thrived on meaningful collaboration. The musicians lived with each other and experienced everything that Karachi had to offer from understanding local culture and sampling cuisines to even violence. A week before the artistes gathered at a project space, Sabeen Mahmud, a human rights activist and social worker who played an integral role in creating a safe haven for open dialogue and progressive thinking, was assassinated. During the camp, eight gunmen attacked a bus travelling in Safoora Goth, Karachi. 46 people lost their lives, that day. Sectarian violence led to the act, claimed some.
Amidst the countless challenges and obstacles that he has had to overcome over the years – what has set Haamid apart is his focus to create equal opportunities for artists to perform, and keep the atmosphere collaborative and not competitive. “I had to promote a new idea in a city that hadn’t heard live electronic music in the way I was presenting it. Thankfully, I found immense gratitude, pride and belief in my work. In recent years, however, communication has been a challenge since I moved away in 2015. No longer having a physical presence makes things complicated! I have tackled these issues by keeping my head down and just doing high quality work. This is clichéd but it is how it is!” explained the artiste.
Over the last few years, Haamid has discovered and collaborated with artistes who have been instrumental in structuring and pushing sonic boundaries within the experimental realm in Pakistan. Articulating themselves through intuitive compositions, contemporary artistes today have consciously merged sounds with new-media art. Amongst the musicians he admires, a few he believes deserve a noteworthy mention:
“Amr Kashmiri is an immensely talented musician whose humility has captivated many a musicians in the industry. Meelad Khan is another young aspiring producer whose experiments with lo-fi hip-hop have made waves in the contemporary experimental space.
One half of Biryani Brothers, Natasha Noorani who just released her EP ‘Munaasib’, is an active artist, curator and organiser focused on nurturing Pakistan’s music scene. Her album was produced by Ali Suhail, engineered by Adeel Tahir (Eridu/Dreadnaught) and has several talented collaborators who have worked towards creating musical masterpieces.
Then, there is Gentle Robot whose laid back persona and music videos make him unique.
Stupid Happiness Theory is Natasha Humera Ejaz’s take on electronic music. A highly established artist, she was recently a participant in the Border Movement Residency.
Ramsha, who was accepted in Red Bull Music Academy this year, and I collaborated on Karachi Files. She is an inspiring artiste and is true to her sound. A few incomplete songs from our collaboration are still stored safely on my hard dive. I hope to finish those in time…”
Having earned a Master’s Degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Dynoman is currently a resident DJ on the New York internet station Halfmoon BK. “It has been nothing short of refreshing and motivating. It challenges me to be better at what I do every day. My DJ residency there fleshed out into a radio show called ‘Ascending with Dynoman’. This show has given me the freedom I have dreamt of having to showcase my talent to the world. It is a phenomenal community that is run by Surf and his team: Jadalareign, Cosmosnite, Ace and Wyatt . I have seen the station grow from a basement in Chinatown Soup, to H0L0 and now they have found their home in New York Studio Factory ,” said the musician who will showcase a plethora of sounds including house, techno, beats, ambient, funk, disco, soul, Eastern, Pakistan, qawwali, FXS and even some of his own tracks on the show. “That is the beauty of this community! No one judges what you do. And, I can’t wait to see this community continue on its course!”
Haamid’s last show in September featured collaborators Smax and Ziyad, who the artiste is affiliated to through FXS and Karachi, and Lady Midnight. “The show on October 18 is a collaboration with an NYC crew, Tesseract. Titled ‘//data_cache’, it is primarily focused on community building and will also give producers the chance to hear their tunes on a club system. The roster will include Deisen, NelSone and I,” says the artiste, “I’m excited for what the future has in store with Blank Music. As for an update on FXS, TMPST and Abdullah Siddiqui have their albums lined up. We also plan on doing another Hotcues & Collections series. Stay tuned!”
Beneath the asymmetric structure of artistic identities in Pakistan, there is a palpable sense of convergence lurking amongst distinct voices in cultural spheres. There is a paradigm shift brewing in Karachi’s core, and much like its socio-cultural identity, it is evolving. Perhaps, that’s how one would best describe Dynoman’s musicality too.
written by Akshatha Shetty