Mansur is a new project by Jason Kohnen (ex-The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, ex-The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation) joined by Dimitry El-Demerdashi (ex-Phurpa), with Martina Horváth on vocals.
It’s a kind of electronic world fusion, but not as gauche as that sounds, as it is its own self contained fourth world exploration that incorporates elements of Arabic, Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Indian melodies within skittering percussion and wailing vocals. Using kalimba, violin, cello, ney, erhu, zhonghu, jinhu, kemenche, dilruba, bansuri, rammerdam, double bass and various percussive instruments such as cajon, castanets, krotal and various organic shakers and drums the trio conjur up a lush evocative world. The oud in particular from Dimitry El Demerdashi is striking. Thanks to the fidelity and lushness of the project, it at times veers perilously close to the smooth, safe hyper stylised organic Real World café set, yet it’s not as obviously 4/4 beat ridden as that, and there’s a real virtuosity to the organic instrument performance.
This is a 5 track EP, with a full length release expected later in the year. There’s some really bizarre amalgamations of cultures and stylistic elements here, almost like they’re rewriting history to suit their musical needs. And whilst this is surely sacrilege, it’s also where they are at their best, when it works musically yet its influences are worlds that have never previously met. The album should be fascinating.