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Album review: KharaWahn 1.0 by Nnoiz Papp

May 7, 2012

KharaWahn 1.0

Nnoiz Papp is a dubstep artist based in Wuppertal, Germany. He’s just released an intriguing new album called KharaWahn 1.0, which is available from iTunes.

The nine tracks are described by Nnoiz as oriental dubstep. Nnoiz is an oboist by training and used midi wind-controllers to play flute and reed sounds which bring the ‘oriental’ into the mix. I’m not sure I’d describe the overall sound as dubstep, though. I’d describe the album as being more transglobal dub with some trance elements.

The opening track, Don´t Ask Dr Cora, starts the journey with a funky digidub groove, Eastern sounding licks aplenty, and a spacious, epic sonic palette. Shizzr´s Advice kicks off with a trance synth riff before a sudden morph into a bass heavy, dubby, head-nodding riddim before returning to the trance riff for its outro. We return to the imaginary Middle East for Elektro Kharawahn which, once again, is dubby and spacious, with a sinuous belly-dance feel. The tempo picks up for Tunesia Uprising which has a driving steppers riddim and I could hear this tune being played in 1960s’ film party scene if it wasn’t for the dubsteppy lead sounds rising to the surface at various points. Hand drums lead the way into Marakech Mosquito and then the midi wind-controller takes centre stage with a melody riff that sounds like a cross between perhaps a trumpet and a reed instrument such as a clarinet or oboe. The groove is uptempo and funky as a funky thing on National Funk Day. The tempo drops dramatically for the start of Hello Dschynn; this tune evokes images of a belly dancer before a soaring lead synth takes the tune in a filmic direction. Living in a Sandbox explores a Middle Eastern melody over a skittering bass and percussion groove that implies a four-on-the-floor dance rhythm without explicitly revealing it. Senora Endorphina brings back the heavy snare and a more downtempo dub flavoured feel. The melody sounds almost baroque, perhaps revealing something of Nnoiz‘s musical training. Escape from Cybatraz starts with some disembodied voice samples before leading into a track that to me is reminiscent of Portishead, with downtempo beats swathed in oceans of reverb. It’s the longest track on the album at over eight minutes and Nnoiz was right to place it as the closer; it sounds a little different from the other tunes.

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