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Khyam Allami - Resonance/Dissonance

  by Sarah Maybank

published: 8 / 7 / 2011

Khyam Allami - Resonance/Dissonance
Label: Naaw Recordings
Format: CD


Stark, but intoxicating CD/DVD release from Iraqi classical musician and psychedelic prog-rockers Knifeworld drummer Khyam Allami, which is based around the magamat, which are Middle Eastern modal systems

Khyam Allami doesn't hang about. Time's precious when you're a classical muso one minute and the next, the drummer for psychedelic prog-rockers Knifeworld - and Allami knows how to make the most of it. 'Resonance/Dissonance', a set of tracks based around maqamat, or Middle Eastern modal systems, was composed in a weekend in February 2011, and its accompanying live DVD was completed by the end of March; yes, he's that quick. Allami playsin the tradition of the Iraqi maqamat, and plies his trade on the oud, a type of short-necked middle eastern lute. But it's not his finger-picking skills on this particular axe that'll have you pressing repeat play – it's the switchback mood changes. One minute you're headbanging to the fierce strumming and twinkling pizzicato rhythms of 'An Alif/An Apex', the next, staring dreamily into space as 'Tawazin 1/Balance', unfolds as languidly as smoke curling from a cigarette. Stark but intoxicating, this collection requires at least one bottle of red to accompany it, plus an entire afternoon in which to lose yourself. The live DVD, of Allami peforming the tracks with a percussionist in an urban warehouse setting, isn't exactly inspired but it means he probably won't appreciate them soundtracking some well-meaning film director's 'career-defining Arab Spring opus'. Bet it won't stop them asking, though.

Track Listing:-
1 Individuation
2 Naghmat Tahrir (Tahrir's Theme)
3 Tawazon I: Balance
4 An Alif/An Apex
5 Tawazon II: or lack of
6 The Descent (Maqam Nawa)
7 Reverie

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