Saturday, March 10, 2007

Abstract Index Playlist - March 7/07

Omar Souleyman is based in Northeastern Syria, where he purveys some of the most strident and spellbinding dance music on this planet -but what do people consume while . Sublime Frequencies, who seem to be shifting their focus from radio collages to single artist compilations and field recordings, have assembled a mix of tunes culled from some 500 of his cassette only releases since 1994.

Deemed "too street" by those who would be in a position to import and export music within the world music industrial complex, Highway To Hassake finds itself in the burgeoning niche of "non-world music". I define this imaginary niche in extra-musical terms - it's non-English speaking music which hits in a way that provokes a purely physical, not just intellectual, stimulus. It can't just be "good for you" intellectually, it's got to be something you can relate to on a gut level. As Carl Wilson so astutely pointed out a few months ago "relatability" can be troubling in that it has a whiff of lowest common denominator about it - but that's not always a bad thing. So non-world music could be Balkan beats (i.e. "it's just dance music, no need to get all cultural about it") to Konono #1's dissonance ("what a total mindfuck, so much better than contrived world fusion") to Turkish rock ("cause it just ROCKS"). Whatever provokes instinctive reaction.

Souleyman is relatable to Western audiences on the mutant DIY techno front. Last week's track "Ley Jani" features six different flavours of solo instruments over a fast, rudimentary soca-like pattern, everything crushing your head at tempos north of 130 BPM... raving, I'm raving! Phase shifted, pitch bent keyboard and baglama solos are seemingly played at quadruple speed and the source cassette's self contained compression makes the sound boom and hiss. Souleyman himself lets loose with controlled fury and a wash of delay kicked up with feedback. It's a sound that will send you running back to your TASCAM with fresh inspiration.

As you can see in the album graphic, Souleyman cuts a striking figure: bedecked in a keffiyah, with a police-issue moustache and Ray-Ban Aviator-style glasses he's strictly business like EPMD. There are slower, folkier numbers on the disc, but my doctrine of relatability includes hypercaffeinated tempos and disorienting polyrhythms.

isadora - celia cruz (great site!) & fania allstars (columbia)
que mujeres - son ache (indie)
fiesta religion - alex cuba (caracol)
ke djulo - seckou keita quartet (arc)
matadjem yinmixan - tinariwen (outside)
leh jani - omar souleyman (sublime frequencies)
eid for dakana - group doueh (sublime frequencies)
parlor - asa chang & junray (leaf)
ruchenista! - slavic soul party (barbes)
cemalim - erkin koray (world psychedelic)
guayaba - la sonora de l. lucho feat macedo (vampisoul)
rompe coco rico - juan pablo torres (waxing deep)
vehement - queen mab trio (stichtig wig)
the eleusian mysteries movement 1 - evergreen club gamelan ensemble (artifact)
sky drops - ori kaplan's percussion ensemble (knitting factory)
quiet dawn - nostalgia 77 (ubiquity)
fisherman's jig - juba dance (audio 8)
lord help me - amnesty (now again)
woman of the ghetto - phyllis dillon (question)
inna jah children version - dhaima (joe gibbs)
africa land - carol kalphat/clint eastwood (hit run)
complain not - chatta (indie)
bhabi wrong dub - echo (in tha chamber)

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