brainwashed

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Sam Shalabi, "Eid"

cover image The looming silhouettes of the pyramids on the cover give some idea of what to expect on Sam Shalabi's latest release. Born in Egypt and finished in Canada, Eid is an eclectic and ecstatic album. Each track sounds like it was pulled from a local radio station in Cairo yet no two pieces sound like they came from the same station. Shalabi fuses Western and Arabic music without straying into trite, watered-down fusion territories.

 

Alien8

Sam Shalabi - Eid

Given the recent explosion in interest in Arabic, African and Middle Eastern music thanks to labels like Sublime Frequencies and the almost rabid reissue schedule of '70s Turkish psychedelica, it is hard to not compare Shalabi to these seemingly never ending scores of artists. I must admit, he compares quite favourably as he hits a lot of buttons that a lot of these other releases do not. Firstly, the quality of the recording is obviously far superior and secondly, the druggy nature of the music captures my ear to a far stronger degree than many of the Turkish bands that have been unearthed in recent years.

"Jessica Simpson" takes the white hot guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix and White Light/White Heat era Lou Reed and transposes it to another continent. (Take the quotation marks out of that sentence and you get a dizzying thought.) I do not know if Shalabi himself plays this solo, as there is a list as long as my arm of performers in the sleeve notes, but whoever is hitting those guitar strings knows what they are doing. This is followed by "Eid," a very different piece altogether. Repetitive melodies go in and out of sync with each other, stringed instruments sounding like they are bending space around them. The effect is mesmerising on a number of levels.

Unfortunately, the album dips in quality with a couple of somewhat pedestrian pieces. In fairness, anything coming after that title track is always going to come off worse. However, it is not all downhill as Shalabi brings things back on track with "Billy the Kid." Elizabeth Anka Vajajick's vocals sound strong but in danger of falling apart, like there is only so much emotion that can be forced through a human throat.

Overall, Eid is a patchy but frequently brilliant album. When it is good, it burns like an immense bonfire and at its weakest it at least still gives off enough light and heat to keep the listener close. Its huge cast of players (over 30 contributors) is both its greatest asset and its downfall; dozens of styles and instruments are used but even if this approach works, it causes the album to stumble from time to time. Still, it is difficult to let these faults mar the better points of Eid. On the strength of its best tracks, this album is well worth investigating, even if it is a track by track dissection from an online download vendor.

samples:

 

The Eye: Video of the Day

Landing

YouTube Video


read more >>>

Review of the Day

Nina Nastasia, "Run To Ruin"
Touch and Go
These songs make me into another person. I'm a criminal, then a scared little boy, and the next minute I'm the loner walking through the desert with a storm at my back. Nina Nastasia forces me to assume these roles with her voice in my ear and her guitars cutting down at me like vicious slaps. One minute I'm in quiet solitude, hiding in a thicket and the next I'm being whipped around by a squall bursting with lightning and unexhaustable power. Run to Ruin is just that: powerful and excited. Nastasia's voice is absolutely entrancing and the instrumentation is a fluid swarm of acoustic strumming, near-classical arrangements, and cabaret-styled, instrumental passages. "We Never Talked" starts the album as the perfect preface. Nastasia's lyrics are somewhat vague and manage to evoke a sense of wonder and mystery in every song, but especially on the opener. "In the car, you'd have brought it up / But I went on about that job / All the love I have left you won't know / All the fear I have left you won't know." The way it's sung puts a knot in my stomach every time... and then the storm begins. "I Say That I Will Go" is a story about keeping a promise. It has a deliciously twisted ending that suggests all sorts of mischievousness. Violins, cellos, banjo, dulcimer, piano, and some distinctive drumming from Jim White of Dirty Three drift, collide, and wail with Nastasia's excellent story-telling and clear, graceful, and at times absolutely earth-shattering voice. Though the album runs at just over thirty minutes long, each song is full of character and developed completely. There's more variety on Run to Ruin than on most albums that last twice as long. "The Body" begins like an imitation-baroque piece and "On Teasing" sounds like a tale told by gypsies around camp fire; it features an instrumental duel that sounds as if it comes from the spirit world. "You Her and Me" creates a hybrid sound that holds country and folk music dear to the heart but is much more bare and delicate. Despite all the acoustic and familiar instruments used, this is a unique album with a myriad of styles and alien melodies. Every time I play this record, it's like being transported to another world. Not one song is disposable and after the album stops, I have this incredible urge to play it again just so I can drift away.

samples:


read more >>>

Login Form



http://soundcloud.combrainwashedcom


Donate towards our web hosting bill!
Shop
		at the iTunes store