Munich-based electronic trio Carl Gari first collaborated with Egyptian poet / musician Abdullah Miniawy on their 2016 ‘Darraje’ EP, and since then Egypt’s Al-Sisi military dictatorship has continued to intensify its crackdown on artists speaking out against the regime, resulting in Miniawy subsequently obtaining legal asylum in France during the intervening years.
If anything, this second collaborative 12” EP ‘The Act Of Falling From The 8th Floor’ feels markedly informed by the deteriorating situation in Miniawy’s home country, with the fusion of Carl Gari’s dark ambient / downbeat atmospheric electronics and Miniawy’s Egyptian Arabic vocals taking on an even more stark and mournful quality on the six tracks collected here.
‘Zawaj زواج’ almost carries a triphop meets trap feel to its slow brittle, sharp-focus beats as slow arcs of rippling guitar feedback buzz and swell against Miniawy’s clear vocals, his voice sudden ascending up in intensity amidst layers of reverb as the background elements lurk like ghosts amidst the rubble. While it’s certainly dark stuff, there’s a feeling of lulling grace to the ebbing metronomic rhythms that anchors things, preventing them from wandering completely into the shadows.
If anything, ‘A’laj علاج’ turns the levels of ominous atmosphere up further, sending eerie cycling synths and slow throbbing bass tones creeping against Miniawy’s majestic-sounding voice while treated horns bleed at the edges of the mix against trickles of glitchy electronics and delayed out guitar scrapes.
In many senses though it’s ‘Haj حاج’ that really offers up this EP’s most pitch-black centrepiece, as a beatless backdrop of slowly pulsing bass tones, sinister electronic whirs and howling feedback builds like a storm beneath Miniawy’s portentous intonation, his lyrics apparently depicting his suicide by jumping from the eight floor balcony of a building in Cairo. It’s exactly this collision between Miniawy’s stark lyrical content and Carl Gari’s potent, often cinematic electronics that make this EP so impressive.