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- Malayeen by Malayeen
9/10 Brian Staff review, 21 May 2014
Nice to have a spot of Lebanese this morning. No, not coffee or drugs. This is some real music, don't push me over the edge y' hear. What I know about traditional music from this Middle Eastern country could be written on the back of a postage stamp from Liliput but it's heartening to hear this three piece add a fascinating contemporary sheen to this vibrant tribal Arabic sound. Disciples of Egypt's renowned Omar Khorshid, this 7 track strong collection begins with a short prelude that really reminds me of Sun City Girls with this deep ominous drone peering over the shoulder of a beautiful wistful solo guitar meander.
The next tune 'Samia' is an incontinent DJs dream, clocking in at over 17 mins. Perky accordion-like keys usher in a profound volley of pattering tribal toms (such as the darbouka) and THAT foreboding and quite startling exotic drone that just nails this record to your frontal lobe. It dips into that old plinky avant-garde bridge-work/folksy reed instrument fluttering for a couple of minutes to stop you zoning out and smashing your face on your desk....then it comes back in with that ace throat-numbing percussion again. And YES! Those re-emerging sustained guitar drones on this record are heady and very magical. S1 closer 'Nadia' is a much more moderate 6 mins and encompasses some more of that ponderous guitar work, some interesting distortion on the high-toms and what sounds like wee stabs of a ghostly Farfisa wandering lost, lonely and tired after finally escaping from the clutches of that pesky 'Rock Lobster' in the desert in the 80s.
A quick round-up of S2 before Clint brays me for going well over my word count. 'Najawa' is a sensual blast of swirling keys, the lovely wail from that jaunty accordion thing and multifarious slinky, swaying percussion. Some crazy electronic scree like rabid digital seagulls in there too! It's a bloody party in a can, exploded right into your hapless face. 'Fifi' is another breathtaking stomper with a sublime blissed-out organ motif that goes rather 'Save A Prayer' drowsy, a raw one-note jangle riff for the Stereolab/Rhys Chatham lovers plus an almost organic techno pulse to the drums. It's a wildly alluring tune indeed. 'Dina' is a real super-hectic clattering mofo that is definitely a contender for primitivist drill'n'bass workout of the decade. This quite wonderful platter bows out with 'Matar' ('Rain'), a brief scratchy and almost intoxicated splurge of guitar near-abandon.
What does it all mean? This is, by far, one of my favourite records of the first half of 2014 anyway. You can either all buy it or totally ignore me. Up to you....
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