Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Suns of Arqa 'All Is Not Lost, But Where Is It?' Review

Artist: Suns of Arqa

Title: All Is Not Lost, 

But Where Is It?

Label: Liquid Sound 


Released: April 2015

The Suns of Arqa have been producing their blend of Indian classical instrumentation and Rastafarian Niyabinghi drumming under mainstay Michael Wadada and a prolific number of guest artists from around the diaspora since 1979.

This latest offering produced by Youth who has also roped in Raja Ram on flute and the Orb to step behind the mixing desk and add their years of production experience to enhance the release.

The opening track 'Mother Tounge' begins slowly with a mish-mash of chopped up SOA clips and samples which are soon accompanied by a powerful rolling beat providing a whirling dervish of psychedelic dub. This is followed by 'Sadrayama' which for the first couple of minutes is a more laid back affair. However, once the drums kick so does the squelch which works in perfect balance with the sitar sounds.

Bird song and spoken samples are the introduction to 'Erasmus Dub' a laid back piece of dub jam-packed with reverb, samples and scratches. Soft female vocal samples and fx are blended with bamboo flutes and song in 'The Fool Ascends' which although still dub ditches the reggae elements in favour of a more ambient chill feel.

'Discordian Dawn' begins with a cello like intro integrated with sequenced synth's before bamboo flutes and tribal drumming which are dubbed out in appropriate places stream through the main body of the track. There's an elongated piece of poetic dialogue nestled over distorted and dubbed out SOA with 'The Truth Lies Therein' before the vocal song and rolling drums are implemented along with trance like synth's.

The closing track is Youth's Dub mix of 'Pablos Lament' plucked from SOA's last e.p. and for me it's a gem. Traditional reggae vibes and harmonica are fused with SOA vocal hooks and reggae vocal samples in this dub-fest. There's also plenty of twists, turns brakes and turns of speed within the piece to maintain your interest.

If hearing the Suns of Arqa put through the array of fx and reverb and echo chambers of the dub laboratory appeals to you, then you can't really go wrong with the men behind the desk on this release.

Reviewed by Woodzee.

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