Reviews of Khamsa Khala
Khamsa Khala features former members of the bands Mandible Chatter and Deathpile. This lovely CD + DVD set features music that might best be described as Middle Eastern dub psychedelia. Neville Harson and Don Poe obviously aren't in the game for money or fame because their music is far too peculiar for the average music fan. There's a lot to take in here. The audio CD features thirteen tracks that are eerie and odd. These compositions combine traditional acoustic instruments with modern electronics to create heady, complex pieces that go all over the map and back. The DVD features 45 minutes' worth of high definition video shot in Morocco and Egypt. Exotic music from a completely different sphere. -babysue.com
Moroccan primitive electronica!?! Okay well the duo isn’t really from the Middle East but they temper the sounds of the Saharan Desert with the ethno-centric music of the Middle East while filtering it all through a mirage of experimental electronica and primitive noise ala Throbbing Gristle. Dangling elements of sonic manipulation while copulating with authentic middle-eastern textures and musical elements, Khamsa Khala (who is really Don Poe and Neville Harson with several guests), conjure a musical extraction that one rarely finds. Also the full-length disc comes packaged with a DVD of several music videos shot in Morocco and Egypt in full HD quality. Another money release from our friends at Lens Records. -smother.net
At the heart of this latest architecture is a combination of Moroccan electronics. Don Poe (whose only previous project, Deathpile, is unknown to us) and Neville Harson (the six albums with Mandible Chatter provides a strong history) choose to make an impression - which is a gift - of Middle Eastern music, bullied by their electronic manipulation. The merger may seem extreme and meaningless with the American origin of the two musicians, but in their own state, Colorado, lie similarities between the two cultures, at least in geography. Compare the canyons and wadis snaking between the mountains and the related power of bare rock, often dark red or deep ocher. Compare the supreme and transcendent landscapes between the Moroccan Atlas and the mountains of Colorado provides the advantage of being accessible and inspiring to those who, among the sparse vegetation, collect dreams, experiences and travel at the limit of imagination. This is the cardinal value of "All Rites Reversed: a journey through valleys, deserts, villages, souks and Moroccan culture. The bonus DVD is testimony to visual art, faithful to the trip, loyal travelers. Marrakesh and its crowds, the bazaar, the market with animals with snake charmers, the loneliness of travel between desolate landscapes, dusty, encounters with Berber peoples and all the sounds of this country, all become video field recordings that evolve into sound material on the album. A real contamination that leads to an ethnic sound with 'loaded' samples related to the esoteric electronic tradition, but vaguely industrial to the backdated years of Cabaret Voltaire or Throbbing Gristle. The songs "Buried Circle" and "Bahrat" start by using the field recordings of local percussion, bells, woodwinds changed into harsh digital loop inducing a trance, with a lysergic Moroccan style. The voices and percussion invading "Suq", a song which lacks only the actual odors in the atmosphere of the dusty location, stifling between small alleys where the sound of negotiations of the culture becomes art, the music always loop-relevant and repeated, 'doped' in royalties. "Auliya" is the moment of maximum scoring, thanks to the contribution of Dawn Storm in generating percussive battery of hypnotic rhythms coalescing acid-jazz or prog rock. In the midst is an oud, which sounds and similar to the Renaissance lute and is typically used in Arabic music, played by Seva Bears. Ariana Saraha (an obvious anagram with Sahara ...) vocalizes in vibrato with acoustic effects, routes, searches and veiled. If you like a deep aggressive sound, tense and neurotic, recall that it originates from a rugged and masculine basis, but also an oasis can emerge between the grooves and become the ultimate sweet arpeggiated, almost idyllic song "Sayeeda." Through the use the oud, it becomes a soft, final leg of a journey conducted in hostile regions, with magic, which thanks to the work of two American artists find an ethnic place, not only linked to actual geographic journey. Another release from Chicago's Lens Records reminds us that complacency is not thepolicy, a credible label with its own diverse roster, a travel partner for synthetic, but while global in nature, not 'world.' -Darkroom Magazine
Beyond the Noize Translated to English
The fascination of many Western musicians for the East is not something recent. Many musicians felt that travel in the form of initiatory trip, a journey to a different culture would allow them more personal wealth to enrich their music through their experiences, but also by certain sounds Nothing really new in somme.Les Beatles had done with India, with their album Savage Republic Customs, made with materials at hand following the theft of their gear in Greece, and the list can be long. Until then, this enrichment was rooted in a fundamentally Western approach in the way of making art. Indeed, it is obvious that if certain sounds called exotic, or world became embedded in Western music, even in his sacred music (yes, think to Dead Can Dance on his Spiritchaser), the music is still rooted in a clearly tradition of home. Basically it allows a quick corner to another culture, self-centered regurgitation of a facade that the musician wants us to see with his own background and experience. A window open course, but still close. Yet some of this music seem full of fantasies, fascinating, by the religious aspect, or even by his side "boundaries pushed. The music is an invitation to travel in our imagination, but also an invitation to a religious heritage not infested by our Christian culture.
What then when musicians fascinated by North Africa decide to experience a total way, playing the game is reversed, ie soak up the local music and then the dirty by some elements of our Western culture cons. Cons culture because Khamsa Khala seems to be much more influenced by some of the 80 courses, heirs to the music industry just as they were innovators in the electronic scene. Cabaret Voltaire is the name that comes to listen to this All rites reserved (nice pun), who also had fought an effort greatly influenced by Indian ragas on long shamanistic drones. Khamsa Khala engaged with this DVD digipack complete with sound experience but also extend the visual experience as it is transcribed. Typical instruments are played in an industrial way, in the way of cutting the rhythmic or use certain technologies to handle sounds (samplers). The first piece is also a haunting rhythm loop, which unsheathed the tone of the effort and attack frontally. The pieces are short (and then remember how the last effort of OM is sloppy, or maybe a watered down and sanitized version of what real religious trance) to allow the effort to unpack quantities of ideas ranging from most lyrical instruments (flutes), the voices of imams calling for prayer through a female vocal (this song is also the only book that a Western percussion to the borders of trip-hop). The bias of industrial processing and direct instruments arises through some loops, some cloths or some crafts that create a decadent atmosphere ancestral, modern and ancient rituals (a bit like the Fremen in Dune Culture Frank Herbert). The record, in addition to being comprehensive is very well produced, as if to return to their homeland effort had been digested, and many guests is the perfect way to sublimate the effort instrumentally. Yes, many will think Muslimgauze for the content of the effort, or socio-cultural scope, with its clear message: the denial of cultural format that is slanted so called electronic artists. However, I never really found a Muslimgauze effort as comprehensive as this one, and often grueling recording weighed against the man. Beautiful object, musically flawless, visually immersive, and above all very beautiful. - Beyond the Noize
Radio Nacional de Espana Translated to English:
Khamsa Khala is an ethno-industrial music project that combines the love of Eastern music and Moroccan culture with experimental recording methods and sound manipulation. The result is an organic music, tangible, real and visceral covering culture and relations with the Middle East.
This duo, who I’m assuming are US based refer to their music as ethno industrial, mining the traditional music of Morocco and Egypt as inspiration and filtering it through electronic manipulation, arriving at a very interesting and very peculiar kind hybrid. It has a kind of industrial dub feel, beat orientated with these dark textures that owe a lot to the likes of Throbbing Gristle without necessarily feeling slavishly derivative. It also isn’t fusion, the duo utilising location recordings of Marrakech’s famous square, snake charmers, nomadic drummers and the Saharan desert, yet bringing these sounds to their own music, rather than futilely attempting to graft themselves to a culture they don’t belong to. As a result the Moroccan elements never feel tokenistic, rather they’re just one ingredient in this bizarre fourth world music. The closest they get to being openly Arabic or Middle Eastern influenced occurs on the three tracks which feature the oud, otherwise it’s about vague hints, non western lilts in their semi industrial music. -Cyclicdefrost
Maeror3 Translated to English
Interest in the traditions and music of the Middle East (sometimes turning into an obsession), often attributed to the adherents of the industrial culture - apparently, the East, as well as industrial, is a tricky business, calls attention to its dissimilarity to the rest of the world, which may well come from these territories soon there will be no reason to assume its full possession.
Rock e Rilla (Italian Magazine)
The attitude of Khamsa Khala is reminiscent of the late Bryn Jones, aka Muslimgauze. This treats the music with an electronica and punk orthodoxy. The music of Khamsa Khala uses exotic Middle Eastern melodies with a characterization more alienated and obscure. To underline the effectiveness of the sounds we also like the images on the included DVD. This is like Don Poe and Neville Harson - with the help of Seva Bears, Sally Morgan, Ariana Saraha and Dawn Storm, had finally broken the annoying style inherent in most electronic music seasoned with Moroccan spices.
Khamsa Khala is Neville Harson (Mandible Chatter) and Don Poe (Deathpile) and their CD+DVD release "All Rites Reversed" is testimony of their love for the vibrant culture and musical tradition of Morocco. During their trips to Marrakech Square and the Sahara, they captured several field recordings of nomadic drummers, snake charmers, square chatter and other local ambiance and combined these with overdubs of traditional instrumentation as well as electronic manipulation. If you dig ethno-crossover stuff like Muslimgauze, Studio Pagol, Dandelion Wine or even lesser extreme Throbbing Gristle, this will be a good addition to your record collection. And let's not forget your DVD collection: "All Rites Reversed" (great triple meaning title by the way!) also offers 45 minutes of footage from trips to Morocco and Egypt which is really beautiful and nicely complemented by alternate versions of the songs. Review by: Marc Urselli
Khamsa Khala has had radio play in the UK on Resonance FM, Italy on the Italian National Broadcasting Company RAI3, France Musique - Electromania, Radio Nacional de Espana - RNE 3 Atmosfera
Beyond the Noize
La fascination de beaucoup de musiciens occidentaux pour l'Orient n'est pas quelque chose de récent. Beaucoup de musiciens considéraient qu'un voyage, en forme de trip initiatique, un long voyage vers une différente culture leur permettrait en plus de s'enrichir personnellement d'enrichir leur musique à travers ce qu'ils ont vécu, mais aussi par certaines sonorités, rien de bien nouveau en somme.Les Beatles l'avaient déjà fait avec l'Inde, Savage Republic avec leur album Customs, composé avec les moyens du bord suite au vol de leur matos en Grèce, et la liste peut être longue. Jusque là, cet enrichissement restait ancré dans une démarche fondamentalement occidentale dans la manière de faire de l'art. En effet, il est évident que si certaines sonorités dites exotiques, ou world se sont incrustés dans la musique occidentale, même dans sa musique sacrée (oui, pensons à Dead Can Dance sur son Spiritchaser), la musique reste quand même clairement ancrée dans une tradition bien de chez nous. En gros elle permet un rapide angle de vue d'une autre culture, une régurgitation auto centrée d'une façade que le musicien veut bien nous montrer avec son background et son expérience propre. Une Fenêtre ouverte certes, mais toujours étroite. Pourtant, certaines de ces musiques nous paraissent pleines de fantasmes, fascinantes, par l'aspect religieux, ou même par son coté « frontières repoussées ». Ces musiques sont l'invitation au voyage dans notre imaginaire, mais aussi l'invitation à un certain héritage religieux non gangrénée par notre culture chrétienne.
Al centro delle architetture di questo ennesimo, particolare combo di natura elettronica, il Marocco. Don Poe (il cui unico progetto precedente, Deathpile, è sconosciuto al nostro pubblico) e Neville Harson (i sei album con i Mandible Chatter lo identificano meglio per un ambito sperimentale) insieme scelgono di dare un'impronta - che ha il valore del dono - alla musica mediorientale, che entra con prepotenza nel loro campo di ricerca elettronica. La fusione potrebbe apparire estrema e senza senso per la provenienza statunitense dei due, eppure proprio nel loro stato, il Colorado, nascono le affinità tra le due culture, perlomeno geografiche. Quindi i canyon e gli wadi sono percorsi simili e serpentiformi tra monti affini nella potenza della roccia nuda, spesso rossa o viva di ocre scure. Landscapes sommi e trascendenti nelle solitudini esistenti tra le vette del Colorado come dell'Atlante marocchino, che però ha il vantaggio di poter essere fruibile ed ispirante a chi, tra le rade forme di vegetazione, può raccogliere sogni, esperienze, viaggi al limite dell'immaginario. Questo è il valore cardinale di "All Rites Reversed": un viaggio tra valli, deserti, villaggi, suq, culture marocchine. Il DVD allegato è testimonianza ancor prima di essere arte visiva, fedele al viaggio, fedele ai viaggiatori. Marrakesch e le sue folle, i bazar, il mercato degli animali con incantatori di serpenti, la solitudine delle trasferte tra paesaggi desolati, polverosi, incontri con popoli berberi e su tutto i suoni di questo paese, suoni che passando dalle riprese visibili nel formato DVD diventano materiale di estensione al sound composto nell'album. Una vera contaminazione che porta il bagaglio di un suono etnico 'caricato' da samples affini alla tradizione elettronica di matrice esoterica, vagamente industriale ma retrodatata negli anni dei Cabaret Voltaire, o dei Throbbing Gristle. "Buried Circle" e "Bahrat" aprono l'ascolto incastrando le percussioni locali, i sonagli, i fiati aspri con loop digitali carichi di una trance azzeccatissima nelle lisergie marocchine. Voci e percussioni che invadono "Suq", brano cui manca solamente la possibilità di percepire gli odori all'atmosfera di location polverosa, asfissiante tra piccole viuzze in cui suoni e trattative diventano la musica di un popolo che in queste forme diviene anche arte; la musica sempre su loop pertinenti e ripetuti, 'drogata' nei canoni. "Auliya" è invece il momento di massima orchestrazione, grazie anche al contributo di Dawn Storm nel generare ipnosi percussive e sessioni di batteria collocabili tra l'acid-jazz o il prog. In mezzo ai timbri l'oud, per suoni e forma simile al liuto rinascimentale e di tipico impiego nella musica araba, suonato da Seva Bears. Ariana Saraha (evidente l'anagramma con Sahara...) vocalizza in vibrati che conducono sempre ed unicamente verso quegli effetti acustici, percorsi, cercati, velati in ogni brano dell'album. Se spesso vi sembrerà un sound cupo ed aggressivo, teso e nevrotico, ricordate sempre che nasce in territori aspri e di apparenza maschile, eppure anche un'oasi può materializzarsi tra i solchi e diventare il dolcissimo finale arpeggiato, quasi idilliaco; "Sayeeda", ancora tramite l'uso dell'oud, diventa una morbida, conclusiva tappa di un viaggio condotto in regioni apparentemente ostili, sicuramente incantatrici, che grazie all'opera di due artisti americani trovano una collocazione etnica all'interno di ambienti non solamente legati a percorsi geografici o documentaristici. Un'altra offerta di Lens Records che ci ricorda che l'adagiarsi sui risultati conseguiti non è la politica adottata nella label di Chicago, entità discografica credibile proprio grazie al suo roster così differenziato, partner per viaggi anche sintetici ma di natura globale, non globalizzata. -Darkroom Magazine
Radio Nacional de Espana:
Khamsa Khala es un proyecto me música etno-industrial que combina su amor por la música oriental y la cultura marroquí con los métodos de grabación experimental y la manipulación del sonido. El resultado es una música orgánica, tangible, real y visceral que abarca la cultura y las relaciones con el Medio Oriente.
Интерес к традициям и музыке Среднего Востока (порой переходящий в навязчивую идею) часто свойственен приверженцам индустриальной культуры – видимо, Восток, как и индастриал, дело тонкое, вызывает повышенное внимание своей непохожестью на весь остальной мир, который, вполне возможно, выходцы из этих территорий скоро не без оснований будут считать своей полноценной вотчиной.
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