Boomkat Product Review:
Hallucinatory drum and drone trips by Lebanese notables, Raed Yassin, Charbel Haber, and Khaled Yassine, paying tribute to, and displacing, Omar Khorshid’s legendary Arabic surf rock hybrids - RIYL Christian Love Forum, Sun City Girls.
Necessarily returned to attention in ’23 by the awesome Discrepant after its OG 2014 release, ‘Malayeen’ is a strong homage to the enduring influence of guitarist Omar Khorshid, whose slant on Arabic Egyptian belly dance traditions, recorded in Lebanon during the ‘70s, would transcend the genre and spark imaginations far beyond the region for decades to come. The Malayeen trio take artistic license to renew the hypnotic vibrancy of Khorshid’s pioneering innovations on East/West fusion music with a conventional array of keys, guitars, and darbouka, augmented by more unusual addition of turntables, and electronics that stay true to the sound while firing it up for contemporary audiences.
The seven pieces oscillate relatively straight played tributes such as the lonesome guitar solo of ‘Omar’, which also recalls Sir Richard Bhp’s take on Khorshid’s legacy in ‘The Freak of Araby’, to more explicit abstraction of his sound with use of queasy electronic texturing in ‘Nadia’, and a killer, up-to-date slant on his percussive thrust in the near singeli-esque or junglist recklessness of the sped up drums in ‘Dina’. We hear those circles bleed most thrillingly on the 17 minute dervish ‘Samia’, which vividly calls to mind recent exploits in this arena by Thessaloniki’s Christian Love Forum, while ‘Najwa’ could almost be the real thing, with dramatic keys upping the ante for a ravishing onslaught of darbouka breaks and surf guitar fervour.