Boomkat Product Review:
Turntablist and composer Mariam Rezaei completes her ambitious, pithy triptych with 'BOWN', her debut for the Heat Crimes imprint. Flipping the concept of turntable-based music on its head, she fractures free jazz, noise, death drone and operatic fragments into a broken tangle of spinbacks, pitchbends, loping rhythms and perverted side-eyes. Featuring collaborations with Teresa Winter, Luka Koenig, Alya Al-Sultani, Bobby Glue and Gwily Edmondez, it's crucial listening for anyone into Maria Chávez, Evicshen, Marina Rosenfeld, Stock, Hausen & Walkman, I-Sound or Philip Jeck.
Billed as the central part of a triptych, 'BOWN' boasts some of Rezaei’s most pressing and rewarding work to date. It’s one of those albums that doesn’t get swallowed up by its own concept, harnessing extreme technical prowess fuelled by deep, sometimes visceral emotional and mental energies that reach a terrifying climax on the brilliant ‘Glass Bastard’ featuring Teresa Winter and Guttersnipe drummer Bobby Glu, an almost phantasmagoric counterpart to Flower/Corsano Duo's frantic improvisations that sounds like the sort of thing you’d reopen the Nurse With Wound list for.
‘It COULD be jazz' - a droll answer to a comment Rezaei received at last year's London Jazz Festival - is next, finding her kinetic and fired-up, using her command of the turntable to chop into raucous horn solos like Peter Brötzmann or Albert Ayler after a particularly heavy night. Bobby Glue provides drums again, but here Rezaei doesn't restrain herself at all, scrubbing rhythms out of spunky rattles.
On 'HMMM', she takes the human voice and queers its natural vacillations, bending it wildly as the pitch slides like some unstable Gregorian chant. Glitches and skips remind us of the process, as thick, syrupy subs rumble below, while the composer shifts voice between operatic wail and barely-there hum. Retaining the vocal theme, Rezaei adds animalistic howls from YEAH YOU's Gwily Edmondez on 'GEORDIE SPICE', transforming his feral squeals into high-pitched chirps and distorted machine whirrs. A celestial invocation rises from the noise, before clattering percussion rocks through the aether, demolishing the track with irregular bumps and scratches.
'MARIAMBA', uses Lucas Koenig's rounded woodblock hits to focus dramatic, saturated organ drones and scratchy loops. Like a demented 1950s Hollywood soundtrack put through a mangle, it's theatrical but deeply self-aware, zeroing in on the textural qualities of the instrumentation. On 'I WANT U 2' London-based soprano Alya Al-Sultani brings yet another element to the table, her echoing wails working like a counterpoint to dextrously scratched spoken phrases. It's dizzying, provocative stuff that never shies from its most experimental inclinations, balancing extreme technical fluency with humour and thematic weight, leaving you with many unanswered questions. Oh and there’s a track called ‘IDIOTIC MUSIC PEOPLE CUNTS’ which is something i’m considering tattooing on my face.
Phenomenal stuff, biggup.