“If you come in peace, then drink from the bass within.”
While in the real world the clash of cultures can lead to violence and heartache, it can also lead to brilliant art, as sparks fly from the nexus of conflicting, competing or just plain different worldviews. I find the results of Middle Eastern and Indian subcontinent hybridizations particularly appealing as evidenced by the grooviness of bhangra, Bollywood film music, and the more classically-oriented Ghazal.
Raz Mesinai’s Badawi project is now on its fifth album in eight years. On Badawi’s latest, Clones and False Prophets, Jerusalem-born Mesinai’s increasing role in the NYC’s downtown avant-improvisational scene (centered around the Tonic nightclub) is more evident than ever, with scenesters Marc Ribot (guitar), Ben Perowsky (drums and percussion), Doug Wieselman (clarinet), Shahzad Ismaily (bass) and Carolyn “Honeychild” Coleman (vocals) joining him for this fascinating and sometimes stunning blend of Middle Eastern percussion and modalities, fuzzed-out acid rock, dub, trance, jungle, and art noise.
The players tangle and skirmish in a musical match of “smear the queer” (hearkening back to the schoolyard), or in the words of Mesinai, “create angles, lines and borders in what was once a circle.” Amazing stuff.