Photo artwork: Spencer Sweeney
A fortnight ago at around four o’clock in the morning, post-rock/ electronic musician, producer and DJ Four Tet was busy captivating an already eager crowd of Leeds party goers down at Canal Mills.
If you made the marvelous life decision of making sure you were there, you may remember towards the end the London born, multi-instrumentalist’s set he dropped a lightning fast paced, Middle-Eastern sounding track accompanied with Arabic vocals.
If you didn’t already know, what you heard was Omar Souleyman’s, ‘Wenu Wenu’ on Domino Records. Kieran Hebden AKA Four Tet helped to produce the track and he’s been dropping it from warehouse venues in Leeds to Lente Kabinet festival outside Amsterdam:
I think it’s fair to say that Souleyman’s something of an acquired taste. Nasal-toned synthesizers follow three stringed ‘buzuk’ guitars in a way that makes the Syrian folk artists tracks sound like an orchestra of vuvuzela’s at hyper-speed.
Yet this didn’t stop the crowd from exploding in on itself at Canal Mills on the 27th when ‘Wenu Wenu’ was dropped at the end of Four Tet’s set. I think there’s a lot to be said about an event where people came for a range of electronic music but went home with an amalgamated mix of a Turkic/ Kurdish and Iraqi styled song left ringing in their ears.
Four Tet isn’t the only one taking interest in Souleyman’s sound. Björk collaborated with the Syrian artist in her album ‘The Crystalline Series’ released back in 2011 on Polydor Records with three b-side tracks and Parisian producer Crackboy refixed Souleyman’s ‘Shift Al Mani’ for the ‘Acid Arab Collections’ on Versatile Records.
Are these tracks nothing more than a niche pastiche or is there lasting substance here? Let us know your thoughts at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Omar Souleyman – ‘Wenu Wenu’ [Domino Records]
Björk – ‘Crystalline’ (Omar Souleyman remix) [Polydor Records]
Omar Souleyman – ‘Shift Al Mani’ (Crackboy remix) [Versatile Records]