Shalabi Effect


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Shalabi Effect (2000), 7/10
The Trial Of St Orange (2002), 7/10
Sam Shalabi: On Hashish (2001), 5/10
Sam Shalabi: Osama (2003), 5/10
Pink Abyss (2004), 5/10
Eid (2008), 6/10
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Montreal-based Sam Shalabi leads the Shalabi Effect, a post-rock project that deals with improvised instrumental psychedelic music, but not only the droning kind. On the sprawling double album Shalabi Effect (Alien 8, 2000), originally slated for release as a collaboration album with Godspeed You Black Emperor that was supposed to be entitled Aural Florida, they employ vintage electronics, ethnic percussions, manipulated instruments, and found sounds to produce propulsive and trancey scores. The line-up is a veritable orchestra of ethnic, western and electronic instruments.

The Trial Of St. Orange (Alien 8, 2002) is less ambitious but also more focused. The humble overture of Sundog Ash misleads the listener with a contemplative atmosphere of solo guitar and jungle sounds. St Orange is an exercise in nightmarish electronica that decays into chaotic Morton Subotnick-ian beats. Mr Titz picks up from that rhythmic bedrock to build pure percussive ecstasy (that halfway into the piece shifts gear to resemble a warped drum'n'bass shuffle). One Last Glare mixes Indian instruments, demented electronics and harsh dissonance. The 17-minute monolith A Glow in the Dark is an extravaganza of abstract electronica with innuendoes to sounds of the jungle that after 13 minutes picks up pace and structure launching in a bewildering jam a` la Amon Duul II.

Sam Shalabi's solo work is more politically motivated. On Hashish (Alien8, nov 2001), mainly centered around the 26-minute Outside Chance, blends field recordings, free improvisation, droning and glitches. Osama (Alien8, 2003) is a pretentious exercise in folkish-jazzy-exotic progressive-rock, with at least one new classic: Wherewithhall (17 minutes).

The Shalabi Effects' third album, Pink Abyss (Alien8, 2004), is mostly bland and undistinguished. It contains one trip-hop gem, Bright Guilty World (vocals by Elizabeth Anka Vajagic), one truly atmospheric ballad, Blue Sunshine (Charles Spearin on trumpet); and two decent pieces of intellectual muzak, I Believe in Love and Kinder Surprise. But the rest is simply second-rate imitation of Shalabi Effects.

Unfortunately (2005) documents live performances.

The Sam Shalabi "solo" album Eid (Alien8, 2008) blends Arab folk and avantgarde music. In some cases Shalabi simply states the obvious (Billy The Kid, in two parts), but elsewhere he indulges in chameleon-like structures such as the seven-minute Jessica Simpson that span several different styles in just one piece. The nine-minute Eid, the seven-minute Eddie and the ten-minute Honey Limbo are musical fantasies that know no borders.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Bea Montanari)

Sam Shalabi capeggia a Montreal gli Shalabi Effects. Si tratta di un progetto di post-rock che fa musica strumentale psichedelica, ma non proprio del genere monotono. Sul caotico doppio album Shalabi Effects (Alien 8, 2000), originariamente pensato come una collaborazione con i Godspeed You Black Emperor che doveva portare il titolo di Aural Florida, gli Shalabi fanno ampio uso di elettronica vintage, percussioni etniche e strumenti rimaneggiati, e riescono a trovare dei suoni che producono partiture propulsive e ipnotiche. La formazione è un’autentica orchestra di strumenti etnici, occidentali, e elettronici.

The Trial Of St. Orange (Alien 8, 2002), e` meno ambizioso, ma anche meno dispersivo. Mr Titz e Sundog Ash sono ottimi esempi di unione tra musica occidentale e orientale, e i 17 minuti della monolitica A glow in the Dark combinano insieme Third Ear Band, Amon Duul II e Taj Mahal Travellers.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Tobia D’Onofrio)

Il lavoro solista di Sam Shalabi tradisce più forti motivazioni politiche. Incentrato sui 26 minuti di Outside Chance, On Hashish (Alien8, nov 2001) armonizza registrazioni ambientali, improvvisazione free, droni e glitch. Osama (Alien8, 2003) è un pretenzioso esercizio di rock progressivo esotico-folk-jazz e può contare almeno un classico: Wherewithhall (17 minuti).

Pink Abyss (Alien8, 2004), il terzo album di Shalabi Effects, è per lo più insipido e mediocre. Contiene una gemma trip-hop, Bright Guilty World (cantata da Elizabeth Anka Vajagic), una ballata davvero atmosferica, Blue Sunshine (Charles Spearin alla tromba) e due pezzi decenti di musicaccia intellettuale, I Believe In Love e Kinder Surprise. Il resto è un’imitazione di seconda scelta di Shalabi Effects.

Unfortunately (2005) documenta esibizioni dal vivo.

L’album solista di Shalabi Eid (Alien8, 2008) mescola folk arabo e musica avant-garde. In certi casi Sam dice cose ovvie (le due parti di Billy The Kid), ma altrove indulge in strutture da camaleonte come nei sette minuti di Jessica Simpson, che abbracciano in un solo pezzo vari stili differenti. I nove minuti di Eid, i sette di Eddie e i dieci di Honey Limbo sono fantasie musicali che non conoscono confini.

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