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My Tribe Is Not Legend

May 15, 2020

Space, memory, wisdom, the passage of time, connections. Stories that create reality.

We’re having fun right now, producing tracks at pace and trying new things in the studio. This one is a mix of middle eastern and medieval instruments with bass heavy electronica.  Actually, that’s not particularly new for us…we do that all the time!

For the musicians among you
This tune is based a round a fairly rare Arabic scale called Maqam Lami, although there is no attempt here to make anything resembling Arabic music. Having said that, we have also used an Arabic rhythm, Iqa’ Dharafat, which is in 13/8 time. There are middle eastern and medieval instruments too, in what is a predominantly electronica based track. The reed instrument is a Chirimia. The frame drum is a Duf.

All Empires Die

May 14, 2020

Here’s a tune from our rapidly growing collection of single tracks being recorded during this worldwide epidemic.

It’s a Bill Laswell inspired dub tune and is probably the first dub tune in history to feature a crumhorn, a medieval reed instrument.  There was a prog rock band called Gryphon back in the 1970s that used crumhorns and that’s where I first heard of them. The day I was recording this tune, someone mentioned them on Twitter and it gave me the idea to feature one in this track. Well, a virtual one anyway.

The Last Days of Babylon

May 2, 2020
If there’s one thing the current pandemic has shown us, it’s that our economic and social systems are pretty crap and that much previously held up as essential and valueable – isn’t!

Oil is worth nothing if no-one can travel or consume pointless products.  Billlionaires serve no purpose whatsoever and do not create any wealth at all. Politicians serve only themselves (and the billionaires) and have little to offer.

What’s valueable to society is what are now called “key workers”.  People who grow, harvest and prepare food. People who drive buses and who staff power plants. People who make music and art and literature to keep people sane and going forwards!

Anyway, in this philosophical frame of mind, we made this new tune. We have no idea what genre of music this is…it’s kind of a post-dubstep thing but has frame drums, a flute, language-less vocals and a soupçon of Croydon bass wubwub.

For you musicians, it’s in 9/4 time (a very slowed down Greek zeymbekiko rhythm) and the musical scale it’s built on is Arabian, Maqam Saba Zamzamah. It sounds slightly prog rock-ish to us but that wasn’t planned.

 

Qalankhkai

April 24, 2020

Yes, it’s another new tune. We’re keeping busy!  This one is in 12/8 for you musicians.

As for the title…you’ll need to know a little of Romulan culture.


Who Does an Infidel Thank?

April 23, 2020

Here’s another new tune. We don’t do very many tracks with a four-on-the-floor house style dance beat so this was just for fun. It’s at 130 bpm so it’s in the range of house or dubstep and , in fact, this tune is a little of each.

Don’t read anything deep into the title…it’s fairly random; we’re not trying to make any point here.


The Gate of the Cat

April 19, 2020

I mentioned in a recent post that during the pandemic we’d release tunes when they’re ready rather than holding them to create albums.

Here’s our latest The Gate of the Cat. It’s a slightly odd one, truly not fitting into any standard genre.  We have some new software for creating vocals and this was a first experiment with using it.

The title came after the recording was completed – sometimes it’s the other way around.
It’s a literary reference (I’ll let you look into it, if you’re interested) and the artwork doesn’t quite go with the reference but that doesn’t matter as we think it’s awesome!

Eastern Path – downtempo isolation mix

April 13, 2020

We were asked to provide a mix for a radio show – ambient, classical, experimental. Here’s what we came up with.

1  Kemancheh – Moving Ninja
2  Outremer – Thousand Yard Prayer
3  Dawn Prayer – Dhafer Youssef
4  Eastern Path – Vangelis
5  Battle Remembered – Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble
6  Suriya – Jonas Hellborg
7  Palästinalied – Kalenda Maya

We open with Kemancheh by Moving Ninja. Some years back when I was first discovering dubstep, the folk music of my hometown Croydon, I was surprised to find tracks like this that were far away from the dancefloor and had some middle eastern influences. Genre labels can be so limiting and misleading.

We then move into one of our own, Outremer by Thousand Yard Prayer. This is built upon a simple Viola Da Gamba line playing an Arabian musical scale with some medieval frame drums, a Persian ney flute and some subtle Croydon post-dubstep bass wobble adding to the low end.

Tunisian born oud player and vocalist Dhafer Youssef then leads us into the exquisite Dawn Prayer. His music gets marketed as jazz but I’m not convinced. It is unique. Listen to that voice!

Next we head towards the world of film soundtracks with Eastern Path by Vangelis from the film Alexander. The duduk is one of the most expressive and melancholy instruments on the planet.

We continue to head east with Battle Remembered by Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. I’m not a huge fan of western classical music but I love to hear musicians from that world working with highly skilled musicians from other traditions.

Bassist Jonas Hellborg recorded Suriya live in Aleppo in 1996. The whole album, Aram of the Two Rivers, is beautiful and is another example of superb musicians from disparate traditions creating something transcendent.

I finish this mix with my favourite piece of medieval music, Palästinalied, here played by Kalenda Maya from their album Pilegrimreiser. I have a Spotify playlist with 42 versions of this tune, all sounding different. This is a particularly chilled rendition.

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