This ‘Alif’ review was written by Oliver Forizs, a GIGsoup contributor
Coming from a mysterious music universe, Alif has won their position on the front line of Midle-Eastern music with their debut album ’Aynama-Rtama’. Alif is a supergroup lead by singer and buzuq player Tamer Abu Ghazaleh (an important name from experimental Arabic music), joined by Iraqi oudist Khyam Allami, the famous Egyptian electro artist Maurice Louca, Bashar Farran from Lebanon at the bass section, and Khaled Yassine at drums.
Their first album is the perfect example of how a few talented artists from different countries can create a unique atmosphere.
’Aynama-Rtama’, or ’Wherever it falls,’ attempts to bring the listener on a journey into their own head. The opening track ’Holako’ (’Hulagu’) lays down the boundaries of the whole album starting with classical loud marches and moderate percussions and keyboards. After this power of hypnosis, a crescendo wakes you up and starts to make you feel the rhythm in your veins.
’Dars Min Kama Sutra’ (’A Lesson from Kama Sutra’) brings this same method, spiced by a brilliant, and slightly psychedelic, reversed melodic track.
’Al-Juththa’ (’The Corpse’), ‘I’tiraf’ (’Confession’) and ’Al-Khutba Al-Akhira’ (The Last Declamation’) leave you some rest, but at the same time they grab your stomach with unsophisticated darkness and melancholy, showing the umbrageous side of life. But after the confession you get the absolution by ’Yalla Tnam’ (’Lullaby’) and ’Watti Es-Sawt’ (’Keep it Down’) using the toolbar of bohemia and craziness.
At the end of the journey, Alif ask you the serious question, ’Eish Jabkum Hon?’ or, ’What Brings You Here?’. Suddenly you find yourself alone after this unique and breath-taking adventure, with a question you can never possibly answer.
Alif take their name from the first letter of Arabic alphabet. Everything starts with a first step and we could be curious what the second will bring us.
‘Aynama-Rtama’ is out now via Nawa Recordings