Munma grew out of the aftermath of Israel's 2006 bombardment of Lebanon when Nawfal decided to explore traditional Arabic harmonies and rhythms within a cutting-edge electro aesthetic.
The resulting albums combine a dark and often unsettling tone with a fragile beauty. "Previews and Premises" is no exception. Somewhat gentler than the accompanying live performance, Nawfal's latest album leaves room for reflection amid the unabashed beats and makes use of an intriguing array of samples.
The Arabic connection, for instance, is easier to discern in the recorded version. Amid the Doppler-effect drones and elastic bass tones of "Motion Sickness," it is possible to discern a lamenting voice. The opening number, "Soft Integration," positions a tremulous flute over a science-fiction array of bleeps and burps.
As in previous albums, Nawfal uses snatches of recorded speech. On "The Alchemist," an extended diatribe on musical aesthetics from a crisp-voiced gentleman is woven in and out of a prowling, moody beat and glitch-dominated electronic tones. There is still plenty of music for dancing to on the disc. "Ear Damage" combines a propulsive, punchy beat with drifting curtains of sound. "The Alchemist" uses a concatenation of beats that almost brings to mind the catchiness of last summer's German breakout act, Moderat.
"Previews and Premises," is a compilation of Nawfal's work from the past four years. "Some of it was meant to appear on previous Munma releases," Nawfal explains in the sleeve notes, "but eventually kept aside for later inclusion." Perhaps made with a little less urgency than previous EPs,
"Previews and Premises" is nonetheless an absorbing listen, showcasing the range of Nawfal's vision. From the spacey dance tunes of "Bits and Dust" and "Explorer" to the eccentric electro of "Attention Disorder," "Previews and Premises" signals a notable talent in full command of his material. The Daily Star
1 Soft Integration
2 The Alchemist
3 Motion Sickness
4 Ear Damage
6 Attention Disorder
7 It Came From Under The Sea
8 Bits And Dust