Brooklyn-based dream pop band Humeysha share their Nusrat on the Beach EP, out today on all streaming platforms. Humeysha will be announcing NYC dates in support of the record, and will be releasing an official music video for title track to follow up the release. Nusrat on the Beach EP is out now on all DSPs.
Last week, Under The Radar exclusively premiered the second single “Beauty in All” with praise, stating, “‘Beauty in All’ is a chill-wave raga that meditates on the nature of our attractions, alternating between Urdu and English, while finding some shared substrate that links the two. The recording features field recordings of conversations he had with fellow Muslims about sexuality and religion that find their way into the bridge and outro of the track.”
Talkhouse premiered the title track and lead single “Nusrat on the Beach” and announced the EP, sharing a personal essay by Humeysha’s Zain Alam. “Nusrat on the Beach,” is a namesake and an ode to one of Humeysha’s greatest influences — Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Pakistani artist called the “Shahenshah-e-Qawwali” or “Emperor of Qawwali,” a form of devotional Sufi music popular in South Asia. The chorus interpolates the melody of one of Nusrat’s most famous songs, Yeh Jo Halka Halka Suroor Hai (“Oh, this mild intoxication”), into Humeysha’s context, pushing the project into fresh dream-pop territory with steel drums, analogue synthesizers, and rich vocal harmonies. Lyrically the song similar brings Nusrat into a surreal dreamscape on the beach–what would happen if the legendary singer was born on the coast? What if he decided to stray from the traditional path of qawwali practiced by his family for generations? The traditional expectations of such a man, in terms of what career he should follow and who he should marry?
“Beauty in All” takes a similar tone, unpacking ideas of who or what we are attracted to through a line of questioning in both languages — Urdu and English — as well as their musical cultures. The sitar finds itself at home with an archival recording of Alam playing pianos at the Harvard music department years ago. Field recordings of conversations he had with fellow Muslims on the themes of sexuality and religion are woven into the bridge and outro. “Beauty in All” also marks Humeysha’s first collaboration with Jorge Elbrecht, a long-time hero of Alam’s, who also mixed the experimental closing to the album, Delhi/Sedimentation.
The themes of experimentation, violating expectations, and accepting the past by forgiving those before us are all married together in Nusrat on the Beach, in both lyrics and sound. The story goes deeper with multilingual aplomb in “Beauty in All” and “At Dawn,” before closing on the experimental, ambient soundscape of “Delhi/Sedimentation.” A video for “Nusrat on the Beach” is currently in production with the production house Honto88 and directed by Shruti Rya Ganguly , while long-time Humeysha collaborator Ethan Young will direct a video for “Beauty in All.”