Boomkat Product Review:
Sam Shalabi is the most active player in montreal's blossoming improv scene. Over the last couple of years he has been documented on releases by Shalabi Effect, Detention, Molasses and A Silver Mt. Zion, and has played or collaborated with the likes of Evan Parker, Alexandre St-Onge, David Kristian, Tim Berne, Charles Papasof and Frank Gratkowski among others. ‘On hashish’ is dedicated to German historian Walter Benjamin and highlights shalabi's compositional skills. he has enlisted the help of a dozen musicians from the montreal scene (including many godspeed & molasses alumni), spliced and diced their playing, and shaped it into his own compositions. The recording is broken up into three sections; one very long piece at 27 minutes and two others at around 7 minutes each, all with a sound comparable in some respects to legendary euro-improv super group Amm. piece # 1 weaves piano, bowed bass, flutes, percussion, distorted voice samples and other sounds, moving along quite smoothly for 10 minutes, then taking a psychedelic twist, with bizarre tape spliced flutes and unusual voice samples jumping in and out, then quietening and slowly coming to an incredible finish. The sound on this recording is based largely in the free jazz or free improv tradition and also incorporates a very strong use of space and silence. The second, shorter piece is a chaotic symphony of sorts that brings to mind some of Hermann Nitsch's orchestral aktions. The final work weaves field recordings of various forms of static with sparse piano, gently gliding with increasing static distortion before dissolving into silence.