Boomkat Product Review:
Tehran-born, NYC-based experimental duo Saint Abdullah follow up last year's astonishing 'Inshallahlaland' with another exploration of Iranian cosmic futures, this time teaming up with Anteloper percussionist Jason Nazary.
Mohammad and Mehdi Mehrabani-Yeganeh have always skated the fringes of jazz. It might be too much to label them as a jazz duo - their recent run of records is far too exploratory for that - but the duo's music has long attempted to reconcile the musical freedom and virtuosic qualities of jazz with electronic production techniques and a vast knowledge of contemporary experimental music. 'Evicted in the Morning' is the closest the brothers have come to a purer form of jazz yet, and while there are echoes of their previous work - '4000 Rat Patrol Posters' from "Insahllahlaland" sounds like a blueprint - it plays like a further step into the abyss. Nazary is a Brooklyn-based drummer and composer who's best known for innovative hybridization of electronic and acoustic forms; well suited to Mohammad and Mehdi's sonic architectures, he's able to root their stargazing electric piano improvisations and smoked-out electronics, providing a rhythmic backbone that's weighty but viscous.
On the title track, the brothers mark out their territory with familiar damaged electronic gestures: submerged, rubberized notes bounce unpredictably underneath painterly high pitched squeals. Nazary's pattering, dusted drums are a welcome addition to the palette, splitting the difference between illbient obscurity, jazz reactiveness and hip-hop grit. The trio's music nudges into a space just outside of time, it's sound that suggests a location - a corrupted, repurposed commercial dystopia maybe? - but perpetually reminds you of its incongruousness. The tonality is always slightly disorienting, and the rhythms are propulsive, but unstable. 'The Stub of a Cucumber' has Nazary launching percussive fireworks, exploding in tight rhythmic clusters next to Mohammad and Mehdi's eerie synthetic blips. 'Insistently, Mystically' meanwhile is drafty and fluid, sounding like a dark carnival band reduced to its basest elements: deranged rhythm and manic, heaving melody.
DC rapper NAPPYNAPPA adds freewheeling bars to 'Mirror of Infinity', bouncing words around Nazary's ultra-subtle ping-ponging electronic rhythms and Saint Abdullah's sublime cinematics. This isn't exactly hip-hop and it's not quite spoken word; the four performers react to each others' sounds seemingly in real time, swerving the obvious and driving deep into unclassifiable abstraction. NAPPYNAPPA gives us a narrative to chew on, but it's little we've tasted before. Petter Eldh adds bass guitar to 'Divine Timing Is Intuitive' and 'The Butchers’ Shop', and the latter sounds like a spartan reaction to Tortoise's Chicago-pilled take on post-rock. Typically, it's Mohammad and Mehdi's fragmented synthwork that unmoors us from ur-post rock most jarringly, but Nazary's drumming is also not what it seems, it's more ornate and dissociated than it initially appears on the surface and rarely slips into repetition.
When experimental singer Emelie Weibel joins with dissociated ASMR vocalizations that the trio weave into their subdued glitches and floating world chords, it's an apt conclusion to a voyage that's gonna stay with us for a minute.