2LP released: Nov 08, 2019
LAND OF KUSH
Renowned Montr al/Cairo composer Sam Shalabi returns with his exhilarating and utterly genre-bending big band Land Of Kush. The trenchantly-titled Sand Enigma bristles with defiant exuberance, restless creative energy, and electrifying cross-cultural expression - the band's most accomplished, acute and accessible album to date (though don't expect 'easy listening' from this boundary-pushing hydra-headed entity). Sand Enigma is a wildly diverse and hugely compelling tour de force of modern composition that pulses with emotion and experimentation, blending avant-garde, psychedelic, Middle Eastern, out-jazz, electronic, and improv/free music tropes to stunning effect. The 75-minute opus, brilliantly recorded by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Jerusalem In My Heart, Matana Roberts) captures a band on fire, flowing through composed set-pieces, improvisational turns, harmolodic gestural and textural interplay, bursts of fervent groove, and fearless, feral experimentation. While the bounty of heavy-hitting instrumental players are too numerous to call out here, Sand Enigma notably features two new Land Of Kush collaborators, both of them leading lights of Cairo's burgeoning avant-electronic scene: Nadah El Shazly and Maurice Louca. As Alan Bishop of Sublime Frequencies raves: "Shalabi raises the bar for modern psychedelic music with Land Of Kush, weaving a seamless montage of styles in a transcendent way that is rarely, if ever, achieved."