Khamsa Khala – All Rights Reversed (Lens)


This duo, who I’m assuming are US based refer to their music as ethno industrial, mining the traditional music of Morocco and Egypt as inspiration and filtering it through electronic manipulation, arriving at a very interesting and very peculiar kind hybrid. It has a kind of industrial dub feel, beat orientated with these dark textures that owe a lot to the likes of Throbbing Gristle without necessarily feeling slavishly derivative. It also isn’t fusion, the duo utilising location recordings of Marrakech’s famous square, snake charmers, nomadic drummers and the Saharan desert, yet bringing these sounds to their own music, rather than futilely attempting to graft themselves to a culture they don’t belong to. As a result the Moroccan elements never feel tokenistic, rather they’re just one ingredient in this bizarre fourth world music. The closest they get to being openly Arabic or Middle Eastern influenced occurs on the three tracks which feature the oud, otherwise it’s about vague hints, non western lilts in their semi industrial music.

Their second disc is DVD featuring 45 minutes of HD video set to their music, which works well as a travelogue yet fails to fuse with the music from the first disc that runs underneath it. It shows a gorgeous country, beautiful shots of nature, traveling by car and the infamous spice markets but is little more than a holiday cam, a document from the duos visit. If you’re planning on visiting Morocco then this is priceless, however all it does to the music is ground it heavily in a reality it no longer belongs in, and rather than enhancing the experience, it’s it as benign audio wallpaper and music this good deserves so much more than that.

Bob Baker Fish


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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