Boomkat Product Review:
The prickly lushest band out of Montreal, Land of Kush lead out for a 4th LP by Sam Shalabi, commanding an orchestra of 24 players in wildly unpredictable yet highly organised manoeuvres between free jazz, classical, and incendiary electronic psychedelia.
“Renowned Montréal/Cairo-based composer Sam Shalabi returns with his exhilarating and utterly genre-bending big band Land Of Kush. The trenchantly-titled Sand Enigma is the orchestra’s long awaited fourth album – its first in six years, following 2013’s The Big Mango, Shalabi’s critically-acclaimed love letter to Cairo, written and recorded during the Arab Spring. While the intervening years have obviously been devastating and disenchanting in so many ways, Sand Enigma bristles with defiant exuberance, restless creative energy, and electrifying cross-cultural expression. The album is a wildly diverse and hugely compelling tour de force of modern composition that pulses with emotion and experimentation, blending avant-garde, psychedelic, Middle Eastern, out-jazz, electronic and improv/free music tropes to stunning effect. Sand Enigma is peak Land Of Kush: the band’s most accomplished, acute and accessible album to date (though don’t expect ‘easy listening’ from this boundary-pushing hydra-headed entity).
“Sam Shalabi has raised the bar for modern psychedelic music with the Land of Kush orchestra, utilizing Middle Eastern, jazz, rock, and folkloric sources to weave a seamless montage of styles in a transcendent way that is rarely, if ever, achieved.” – Alan Bishop (Sun City Girls / Sublime Frequencies)”