Nadah el Shazly – Ahwar

nadYou don’t know Nadah el Shazly? The woman who started out singing Misfits covers and eventually make a name for herself in the Cairo underground scene? Ya, neither did I. Until I was reading over ホワイトノイズ‘s blog for some groovy new artists. Here’s a link to that blog if you wanna check it out: ホワイトノイズ

Anywho, this album has thrown me for a fucking loop. If you want to hear music unlike anything else you’ve ever heard, try this out. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a rundown on these lyrics’ cause I don’t know a word of Arabic. Ya, the album is in fucking Arabic. But, sweet holy fuck tarts, listening to this is like listening to a Bjork album from the future. 

It’s not the fact that it’s in a different language or from a different culture from mine that makes this album so unique. As everyone eventually learns, shitty music exists everywhere (just listen to Yasmine Nayar if you don’t believe me. She’s the Egyptian Christina Aguilera [ya, sorry I can’t reference any new pop singers]). Ahwar is jazz with electronic loops, bowed double basses, abstract time signatures, horn sections, intricately composed but with an improvisational feel. The main vocals swim through this current beautifully. Every other minute something happens on this album, whether an odd instrumentation choice or a different direction, that keeps me on my toes and brings a smile to my face. 

What ties this entire album together in a perfect bow for me are two different things: First of all, it doesn’t lose itself in the abstract. Don’t get me wrong, this album will, with absolutely certainty, take you to some very uncomfortable places. But it offers you a lifeline through it, whether a nice beat or a delicate harmony, it doesn’t drown in chaos for chaos sake. And secondly, it’s undeniable, even to me, that this album roots go way, way, way the fuck down. Fuck music history starting with The Beatles or Mozart; that’s a blip on the fucking map. How about a Neolithic history of music? How about music from 6000 BC? Roots going back to a black and white history. And, if you can slice off a piece of that and then feed it to a modern ear, you’re doing something right. 

So, why not travel the world between your ears to a place where history hits you all at once? Get challenged, be scared, and in the very end, dance and smile to a music both futuristic and ancient. Stare into the timeless abyss of a starry night as you sit on top of Keops Pyramid, smoke a fattie with a friend, and blow smoke rings that turn and morph into ancient stories and forgotten dreams.

P.S. And for those Valentine day motherfuckers out there: Listen to this and fuck on top of a mountain made of time.


 

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