There is no other Syrian dabke musician that has enjoyed the local, regional, national, and international recognition that Rizan Said has, and for that, the world is lucky. Rizan is a musical ambassador from a disappeared Syria, and this is not to be taken lightly. Once upon a time, not too long ago, Syria was a culturally diverse country possessing a certain unity. A place not synonymous with barbarism and savagery. Far from the capital of Damascus, the northeast of the country, known as the Jazeera, was rich with history and culture.
Kurds, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Armenians, Yezidis, and Arabs had lived together for centuries in this largely agricultural region. The area is closer to Iraq in proximity and culture than the rest of Syria – evident in the dialects, clothing, food and music. In the mid-1990s, in the small northeastern town of Ras Al Ain, Rizan Said – maverick pioneer of the Syrian Kurdish electronic synthesizer was getting his start. Rizan was a musical prodigy from a young age – a gifted player of percussion and reed instruments before a wealth of synthesizers began flooding Syria in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Steadfast on the Syrian cassette album circuit at the time, Rizan the boy wonder was already sending his signals out from the Jazeera frontier, thanks to a partnership with local producer Zuhir Maksi.
Live and studio cassette tapes from the region were distributed with frequency across the country, and Rizan was the man behind many of these regional releases. His compositional and improvisational prowess shone both live at wedding parties, and in the studio where he began producing with more frequency over the years. It can be said, that without Rizan Said, a good number of Syrian singers from the 1990s onward might never have been heard – most notably Omar Souleyman, a collaborator with Rizan for two decades. Where synthesizers can bring a certain artifice and death to the sound of music, Rizan’s torrential speed and flair on the keys bring new life to Syrian and Kurdish sounds – lightning fast as required – respectfully forcing the component sounds of folkloric dabke into the next level.
Once exposed to the west via Omar Souleyman, these swirling synths atop accelerated electronic beats easily seduced the "west" – and the world soon began celebrating the dabke sounds of Syria.
What has often been overlooked is the very specific context and vibe of northeastern Syria, where this music originates.
These sounds were indeed designed for dance, but when you’re at a Syrian wedding party, you begin to understand that this has been going on for centuries, before electro, disco, hipsters, and orientalists. This is the updated sound of the ages, where hand drums and reed flutes are now emulated and pounded out on Korg keyboards.
Run it through your favorite amplifier, and keep it in the red for authenticity. – Mark Gergis – April, 2015
1. Electric Mawwal I
2. High Tension Zamer
3. The Impossible Arab Kurd
4. When Vans Turn into Clubs
5. Cosmopolitan Hacha
6. The Man Who Toured The World
7. From Mandal to Mandal
8. Electric Mawwal II
Alan Bishop is a true musical maverick, who spent years playing, touring and recording with Sun City Girls, one of the most thrilling and versatile bands to emerge from the American post-punk, post-hardcore scene.
Based in Seattle, constantly going off in several directions at once, Alan Bishop (bass), his brother Richard (guitar) and Charles Gocher (drums) celebrated musical freedom by diving headfirst into wild improvisations, world music explorations or rocking noise. They fully embraced the traveling lifestyle, too, and it was during travels through Africa and Asia that Alan Bishop laid the foundations for his label Sublime Frequencies, by recording hours and hours of music, announcements and static from local radio stations and collecting countless tapes and records from stalls, taxis and stores along the way.
Now nearly 50 releases into its existence as a label, Sublime Frequencies represents a musical parallel universe where Thai surf music and Burmese radio stations meet Syria’s folk/pop hero Omar Souleyman and Sahara giants Group Doueh. It is through his work for Sublime Frequencies, that Bishop met and became friends with Lebanese improvising musicians Mazen Kerbaj (trumpet), Raed Yassin (double bass) and Sharif Sehnaoui (electric guitar), who have operated collectively as free jazz unit “A Trio” since 2003. In 2012, during a trip to Beirut to participate in the annual Irtijal Festival for Experimental Music, Bishop entered the studio with Kerbaj, Sehnaoui and Yassin, to lay down the first rough sketches of the “Burj el Imam” album. The album was eventually completed a year later, during another one of Bishop’s frequent visits to the Lebanese capital.
Entirely recorded at Tunefork Studios, a highly esteemed recording studio located on the outskirts of Beirut, “Burj el Imam”’s five tracks include three largely improvised numbers, a loose reworking of early Sun City Girls track “The Imam”, and a cover of traditional Americana song “Gently Johnny”. The album displays remarkable coherence, for 4 musicians coming from such different backgrounds. True to their habits, Kerbaj, Sehnaoui and Yassin create acoustic improvised drones that range from insistent, chiming resonances with emergency alarm bells, to low thrumming hums – evoking helicopter gunships hovering overhead, or bulldozers demolishing bomb-blasted apartments.
The three musicians largely avoid conventional technique, instead using what sounds like motorized devices to generate rattling, metallic vibrations, building a mechanistic backdrop out of which the instruments’ true voices occasionally arise. Perched above the ambient din, Bishop is in fine form, and alternates between gentle crooning and malevolent whispering.
1. Howling Sheep
2. Burj al Imam
3. Smoking Elevator
4. Folk Machinery
5. Gently Johnny
Malayeen is a trio of Lebanese musicians Raed Yassin (a founding member of A-Trio, one of Lebanon’s most renowned free improv outfits), Charbel Haber (from experimental rock bands Scrambled Eggs, XEFM and BAO), and Khaled Yassine (a member of Tunisian oud player Anouar Brahem’s oriental jazz ensemble).
Malayeen was born from Yassin and Haber's love for the music of quintessential Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid, and their desire to create a contemporary trio that would study, revisit and modernize his music, and bring it full circle into the 21st century.
Master percussionist Khaled Yassine was added to the project at a later phase, creating in the process a Lebanese experimental “supergroup” of sorts. The final result consists of original and unique trio music, as the 3 musicians’ varied backgrounds collide and coalesce in subdued and restrained fashion, not actually playing Khorshid's music, but inspiring themselves from the cult guitarist’s genius to create something completely new, modern and unexpected. “Malayeen” is released by Lebanese experimental label Annihaya.
The aim of the label is to revisit and displace various forms of popular culture, whether from the realms of oriental folk music, jazz or electronica, branding them in the process with a resolutely contemporary twist.
Previous Annihaya releases have included works by Japanese turntablist DJ Sniff, Swiss/Lebanese electronic duo Praed, a selection of North African-inspired Sun City Girls ditties, and an album of “noir electronica” by Lebanese techno producer Rabih Beaini aka Morphosis. As such, it was only natural that the label would be interested in releasing the music of the Malayeen trio!
"Sham Palace (USA) and Annihaya (Lebanon) are pleased to present from the mystical locus of Curuzú Cuatiá, in Corrientes, rural northeastern Argentina, Los Siquicos Litoraleños, with their first international full-length release.
The result: a unique triumph of homegrown rural psychedelia, standing alone on the edge of an unchartered vanguard. Los Siquicos have spent the past decade recording and performing mountains of material and distilling it into a rare form of ultra-cerebral roots music from the countryside; rich with strange passion, beauty, experimentation, horror and humor.
Corrientes sits in the Argentine Mesopotamic region, in the area known as el Litoral. Inhabitants of this region are known as Litoraleños. Los Siquicos Litoraleños (The Psychics of el Litoral) aren't running from their musical heritage, they are staring straight at it -- spinning it around, refracting it, and transmuting it into something that is probably one of the most genuine things that has happened to folk, rock, experimental or psychedelic music in many years. Having met through various musical projects in the mid-2000s, Los Siquicos formed as a trio in 2004, determined to develop an unheard style of music.
They created their own genre -- Chipadelia, (a reference to the traditional chipá bread, typical of northeast Argentina and Paraguay). It involves equalizational demolition therapy -- which they describe as 'using sound to change people's perceptions, and words to produce cognitive dissonance in order to free the masses from the prison of fixed ideas and prejudices.' Being a peripheral band living in a semi-rural town, Los Siquicos remained outsiders to the Argentinian rock circuit for quite a while, though their unpredictable live performances in Buenos Aires caused a stir amongst the local scene.
Their shows often feature extended line-ups, with members cloaked in surreal gaucho costumes, playing segments of free-music and altered versions of chamamé and cumbia tunes influenced by the myriad regional gaucho dance bands. All the while, projections of cows, fractals, UFOs and their beloved countryside play out in the background. At home, they're affectionately referred to as 'El Pink Floyd de los pobres' -- the poor man's Pink Floyd.
Over time, the group has gained underground acclaim both nationally and abroad after sending their signals out in the form of self-released CDs, internet presence, and a handful of European tours. This collection has been culled from multiple recordings made between 2005 and 2010. It showcases some of the finest compositional moments in the group's dense and damaged repertoire -- pitched-down cumbias soaked in dub brine, swirling solar instrumentals, and surrealist, shamanic lyrics laid across guitars, drums, tapes and electronics.
Forty-four minutes of deep, multi-fidelity electric and acoustic psychic sound-forms for a better today. Los Siquicos Litoraleños are the contemporary group you keep hoping exist, but can never find. If you were to reach for spiritual comparisons, you wouldn't be forgetting the most spirited moments from Sun City Girls, Butthole Surfers, Faust, Os Mutantes, Captain Beefheart or The Residents. Sonido Chipadelico opens with the mind-melting psych-rocker 'Cinta Planeteria' -- like a Latin American time-travel experiment gone wrong. 'Cachaka Espejo,' 'Tenemos Semillas' and 'No Sabemos Nada' reinvent cumbia radio tunes as if heard from a distance of at least two blocks away on a dirt road in the barrio, then deconstructed, propelled into the outer ether, and beamed back into a burning dub transistor.
'El Chipa Chiriri' is a subverted chamamé-styled track -- revealing the recipe for the local Corrientes cheese bread. 'Necesita Ecualisacion' is a call for aural and mental equilibrium encouraging change rapidly from the present state of things to an improved and more complex, flexible state. The hypnotic 'Sirena Chunga y la Movida Solar' is perhaps one of the strangest folkloric songs ever committed to tape -- not unlike what light must hear when it travels inside of a vacuum. 'Si, Si, Si' is an uptempo, angular anthem in collaboration with Dutch experimental duo Static Tics. Also included is Los Siquicos' haunting acid-ballad cover of 'Quizás, Quizás,' and much more -- further into the greater depths of sound and surprise..." --Mark Gergis
1. Cinta Planetaria (Planetary Ribbon)
2. Cachaka Espejo (Mirror Cachaka)
3. Sirena chunga y la movida solar (Chunga Siren and the Solar Scene)
4. La manera extraña (The Strange Way)
5. Dulce de pera
6. Chipá Chiriri
7. Necesita Ecualización (It Needs EQ)
8. Gran carancho Guazú (Great Guazú Vulture)
1. No sabemos nada (We Don't Know Anything) (Tropicadelic Mix)
2. Si, si, si (Yes, Yes, Yes)
3. Esto quemará como un horno! (This Will Burn Like an Oven!)
4. 3 maneras de contactar un gnomo (3 Ways to Contact a Gnome)
5. Tenemos Semillas (We Have Seeds)
6. Quizás, Quizás (Perhaps, Perhaps)
7. No estoy pensando, Dr. Ki (I'm Not Thinking, Dr. Ki)
8. Full Lucita (Full Lucita)
9. Si, Miente (Yes, It Lies)
10. Todo roto al Esquivar (All Broken at Dodge)
After six years of musical and artistic collaboration, Praed give us their third CD to date, reaching even further into their exploration of collective memory, both individual and shared.
Shades of jazz, bits and pieces of popular Arabic music, sound traces from their Japanese and European tours are some of the many features of this elaborate audio suite.
1. PRAED Horror Theme
2. Kill Me
3. The Suspect
4. Half The Hope
5. Melt Me Baby
6. After The Message
8. Kill Me Again
9. Hamada & Tutu
10. Money Dry Clean
11. 8 Gega
12. Kill Me One More Time
Albidaya in Arabic means The Beginning, which in the case of Beaini’s, might be the return to t he beginnings, or the start of the path. The album is conceptually a revisiting of the traditional and early psychedelic Arabic music, all through distorted paths and instruments, remashed and deconstructed sounds, recreating patterns with diverse instruments to give a different perspective of the sound itself. Includes musicians from Upperground Piero Bittolo Bon and Tommaso Cappellato. Commissioned by Annihaya in Lebanon by Sharif Sehnaoui, Raed Yassin and Hatem Imam – includes artwork by Maria Kassab.
“Almost entirely recorded in a day, and featuring cello, saxophone and drums in addition to electronics, Albidaya doesn’t attempt to replicate Lebanese folk music. Instead, it articulates a point of contact between various worlds.” Rory Gibb for the Wire. “dips into the ethnically charged concepts and neo-traditionalisms of Annihaya, traversing through a panorama of sounds and textures.
Eastern twang, middle eastern thematics and jazz all play a role in Albidaya, as do tribals drums and marketplace noise with the introduction of live and off the cuff synth experiments, arpeggiated space transmissions and eerie Wu-Tang like vocal samples entrapped in a gurgling soup of analogue beef. Brief clips of the entire album are available to stream below should the preceding description not provide sufficient appetite whetting.” Juno Plus Blog
1. Light Within The Light
2. Maples And Rocks
3. Kessara 1
4. Taranta 3000
5. Ya Shater
6. Kessara 3
7. Song Of Extreme Happiness
8. Kessara 2
Limited Edition of 500 hand made in Beirut.
Shalabi Effect was originally formed in 1996 as a duo composed of Anthony von Seck and Sam Shalabi. In 1998 Shalabi and Seck fused their musical energies with Alexandre St. Onge and Will Eizlini.
The band put out four releases since, applying their structural aesthetic in studio recording to the first-take improvisation method in order to create some of the most distinctive sounds in Montreal today.
For their fifth release (and first on Annihaya Records), Shalabi Effect have crafted Feign to Delight Gaiety of Gods, which isn't exactly free improvistion, or psychedelic music, or rock. It's a sort of surrealist assemblage, much like it's track titles. A chance meeting on a mixer between a conversation about "inhaled backwards funk" and a hallucinatory musical sequence.
Rough around the edges but liquid in it's progression, the album is populated by the most offbeat of characters and the most unlikely of instrumental syntheses. Between a sonic psychedelic fiction set in outer space and a haunting eulogy, this simultaneously ill-tempered, euphoric, and downcast double-album features some of the band's most elaborate experimentations with Middle Eastern modes and traditions.
1. Feign To Delight Gaiety Of Gods
2. Cum Dumspter (Tempting Gods)
3. Prenatal Coat Hanger Memory
4. Born Again Lesbians
5. Chicken Wings
6. Empathy Box
7. Skulls For Stars
8. Love Hertz
9. John Heward
1. Sigmund Droid
2. Beauty Queen Crime Scene
3. Ambient Walrus
4. A Fine State Of A Fez
5. White Phosphorus Christmas
1. Once Upon a Time
2. Shut Up
4. The Quarter Of Hope
5. This Man Will Drive Me Crazy
6. All About Sand
7. The Story Of Shrewd Hassan
8. The Deaf Oud
9. Fairuz's Kiss
10. All About Siham
11. The Will Get Me Married
12. Shkoukous's Puppet
13. My Heart
14. Sammy's Spare Time
15. Midnight Trio
16. Sherem Berem
17. The Three Quarters Of Hope
18. I Heard This Before