Boomkat Product Review:
Semtek’s Lost Futures label chase their ace Culture Clash debut with a necessary introduction to Egypt’s PanSTARRS; Cairean peers of Zuli, in possession of a wickedly brooding and concentrated post-punk/shoegaze style recalling The Birthday Party, Suicide, Lydia Lunch, Yves Tumor
Quite the switch up from Culture Clash’s early ‘90s techno hybrids, PanSTARRS plot a path thru dense guitar textures and stygian machine rhythms guided by the flickering light of Youssef Abouzeid on a slow, bristling handful of songs from the recent past. The songs hark to a time when, as Youssef writes “I was actively occupied by arguments on the fusion of culture in creative context, specifically between western and arabic elements”, and the music follows with a scorched blend of brittle machine pulses and keening guitars picking out piquant, distorted melodies that contrast with the haunted, strung-out vox.
Landing on the sweet ’n sore spot between Arabic and Western traditions, ‘Ghaby Ghaby Ghaby’ presents a decidedly unique proposition from his neck of the woods, hustling an experimental, mid-decade sound that joins the dots between stylized ‘80s rock experiments and a wave of recent song-writers and producers from Cairo testing new fusions of electronics and traditional themes. Pardon our prejudices but It’s really not what we’d expect from Cairo, although it’s not hard to draw lines in the sand between PanSTARRS and The Birthday Party’s desert goth in ‘Men Gheir Wa7da’ in that heat-struck sort of way.
Flanked by Hazm El Shamy on drums and Ismail Arafa on bass, Youssef cuts a timeless classic swagger on the Suicide-like charge of ‘Tomtit Nami’, and even recalls Zelionople with an Arabic accent on ‘Sahla Ya Khaifa’, while ‘7omar 3ala 7osan’ could be compared with a burned out Yves Tumor, striking a strong balance of grit and expressive contemporary soul that gets under the skin.