Anthology of contemporary music from Middle East

continuing at pace with their highly regarded trek across the continents to discover new sounds, techniques and ways of communicating, the Unexplained Sounds Group collective extend their peripheral touch to Middle East in their latest anthological study. as with previous explorations, this collection spreads its parameters to incorporate a lush and varied myriad of musics to provide a truly captivating curnucopia of mediums and perspectives. the gathering opening to the angel sighs of Ahmed Saleh’s genteely serene and life affirming ‘Feryal’, a spectral rejoicing of sorts ghosted in the minimalist crush of electronic whispers all touched with something of the celestial and the ancient, it really does make way for a trance toning experience both reinvigorating and somewhat soothed in a becoming cosmic eerie. incidentally Ahmed pops up again a little later on with the bliss flotilla fancy that is ‘khitan’ whose looping nostalgic sonics and twinkling courtship cuts some feint hinterland between Steve Reich and the Caretaker. In sharp contrast, Naujawanan Baidar’s strangely swarthy and sultry industrial lock grooving ‘Asir-e Jangi’ immediately evokes memories of Muslim Gause’s ahead of the curve artistry in the 90’s instilled as it is with musical message overloads seemingly approaching at all quarters crafting a smoke scarred heraldic haloing to the proceedings. Utilising an insular palette, bloom tribe’s simply arresting ‘descendance’ is softly ice sculptured with a frail and fragile melancholy, whose lonesomeness both bruised and tormented is crushingly tender and tearful. must admit to being mildly fond of Cenk Ergum’s ‘bir’ not least because there’s a glitchy displacement underfoot that had us much minded to go off in search of our prized Minotaur Shock and Inch Time releases of yesteryear. like Ahmed Saleh, Cenk Engum re-appears at the finale with ‘Amsterdam’ and is found here mixing 8 bit hysteria with vintage radiophonics, its a delightfully skittish and playful in a Louis and Bebe Barron type way. Briefest track of the collection ‘prelude for Orpheus’ by Hasan Hujairi, is cut with an hypnotic earthy, its parched tonings crafting out a mystical mosaic which aside being teasingly short, at least decorating the listening space in a most desirable desert dry woozy. draped in a subterranean eerie, Nilüfer Ormanli’s darkly woven ‘Art of Dying’ freewheels between an ever glooming soundscape deadened in a sparse nothingness chill interspersed with moments of ghost lit electronic earthbeat folk mantras cut from a tongue long lost to the earth which if references should be needed, sits between Nico and Preterite. immersed with an isolationist haloing, Pharoah Chromium’s ‘Gaza Requiem’ is ghosted in a fracturing twilight eerie relocating you to a place, that one suspects, given the choice, you’d probably prefer not to visit, a shadowy land of intricately fused glowering chamber electronics and psychosis, daubed with an edgy and distant outsiderism. with its sweeping orchestrated curvatures, Guy Gelem’s lushly graced snake winding ‘Parallels’ is awash in a mystic mercurial majesty that cuts through the ages to a time long forgotten while elsewhere Tony Eleh’s ‘the dark that matters’ is a lo-fi mesh of modular mutants prowling from out of the shadowy confines of some as were, imaginary toybox. if you fancy your sounds turned with a Tibetan ceremonial cool we’d suggest you fleet foot to Farouk Adil’s quite mesmeric ‘Surface Crack’ and immerse yourself yourself its sky scorched snake charming rhapsody. as to Mazen Kerbaj’s ‘The Acoustic Synthesizer’ can we just say that the jury is still out given Dylan the house cat raised a furry eyebrow and throughout its duration proceeded to claw our sides for grim life, probably the most abstract sounding cut here, involving some form of drainage collage or rain effected oddness, strangely lulling in a wierd way, not for cats though. Some classic era radiophonics from Yousef Kawar courtesy of ‘Nerves’ ought satiated the listening of those Tristram Cary admirers among you which brings us to the stilled elegance peeling away from Dimitris Savva’s shore line serene of ‘Thalassa’, a slowly unfurling drone opine that ought to find favour with the folk over at the Silber imprint, did we forget to mention the meditative spells, the bowed arrangements and hymnal chants all of which leaves Nyctalllz’s ‘The Humanity Demise’ to gracefully gloom matters and draw the event to a close with what can only be described as a tormented symphony for the celestial burn of stars falling and the slow decay of a disintegrating cosmic.

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