The furious double LP “AL AZRAQAYN” documents KARKHANA (with members of KONSTRUKT, THE DWARFS OF EAST AGOUZA, LAND OF KUSH, PETER BRÖTZMANN CHICAGO TENTET, “A” TRIO) at their very best and intense: live on stage.
Consisting of seven of the most adventurous and innovative artists from the Middle Eastern experimental scene (and a veteran jazz percussionist from Chicago), KARKHANA are surely among the most unique and interesting ensembles around. When MAURICE LOUCA (THE DWARFS OF EAST AGOUZA), SAM SHALABI (LAND OF KUSH, THE DWARFS OF EAST AGOUZA), UMUT ÇAĞLAR (KONSTRUKT), MAZEN KERBAJ (“A” TRIO, JOHNNY KAFTA ANTI-VEGETARIAN ORCHESTRA), MICHAEL ZERANG (PETER BRÖTZMANN CHICAGO TENTET), SHARIF SEHNAOUI (“A” TRIO, ORCHESTRA OMAR) and TONY ELIEH (ORCHESTRA OMAR, JOHNNY KAFTA ANTI-VEGETARIAN ORCHESTRA ) come together to perform and / or record, the result is as diverse as their individual musical backgrounds. The septet’s sound is neither retro nor avantgarde, not folklore nor jazz or rock – it’s an astonishing blend of all these different styles and elements where seductive oriental melodies can intensify and turn into a psychedelic freak-out, fuelled by reeds, guitars and electronics, only to re-start again from quiet sounds till the ensemble seeks catharsis in a collective improv outburst! Defying simple categorization, and in lack of proper terms for the intense experience of KARKHANA’s music (as well as the member’s other projects mentioned before), someone labelled it “free Middle Eastern music”.
And it’s not surprising that these skilled musicians are at their best live on stage – as documented on this live recording from a furious, highly energetic concert at Bimhuis / Amsterdam!
released July 9, 2021
Mazen Kerbaj: trumpet, objects, electronics
Umut Çağlar: double reeds, bamboo flutes
Sam Shalabi: oud, electric guitar
Sharif Sehnaoui: electric guitar
Maurice Louca: organ, synthesizer
Tony Elieh: electric bass
Michael Zerang: drums, darbouka
Recorded live at Bimhuis / Amsterdam on july 3rd, 2019
All music by Karkhana except “Sidi Mansour” a tunisian folk theme by Cheikh Mohamed Boudaya الشيخ محمد بودية.
Artwork by Mazen Kerbaj.
Inner gatefold picture by Tony Elieh (Inter Arts Center, Malmö, 2018)
Mastered & cut by Helmut Erler at D&M, Berlin, in january 2021
Energy time maddafakkas! This is hard hitting free jazz for the revolution. Listening to this you could believe it might actually happen!
Anyone who thinks Jazz is for old folks should give this a spin. It couldn’t be more contemporary to my ears. Crinklechips