“The Wayward Regional Transmissions” reviewed by Gaz-Eta

Following his excellent reconstruction of Jewish culture in Cracow and industrial revolution revived in Nowa Huta on “Into The Void”, Ran Slavin continues on his quest in audio-art on his latest release. Moving smack centre into the Middle East region, he brings up ghosts of past and present. Accompanied by a booklet full of detailed aerial photographs [and regular photos too], Slavin’s sound is about the micro as opposed to the larger picture. When he mutates the bulbultarang [as played by Ahura Ozeri] on four of the album’s eight tracks, the sound is unreal. Of course, the instrument is still recognizable, but the technique that Slavin uses to cut up the sounds into little pockets of audible air is phenomenal. It’s as if one were dining at a fancy buffet but was only allowed to eat certain foods slowly, without having visibility or access to other food groups. Imagine someone playing with a fader – turning level up and down incessantly for a long span of time – while some highly rhythmic Arabic music was being played all around. Much of the sounds processed by Slavin’s electronic equipment and computer are jumpy and full of static. Large portion of this is granular and can be compared to lightly buzzing radio waves. “Shelters and Peace” features a constant flickering light beat [that actually sounds more like a light switch] that is wrapped around a scan of satellites, radio waves and various noises. The most rhythm oriented piece on the album is “DAT Beats”, which features a cut’n’paste of various street musicians playing their hearts out. Moshe Eliahu’s ud on “Jericho 6 AM” is wrapped up tight in a salad of snaps, crackles and bleeps, but in the end, still holds on to its majestic beauty. This isn’t an album for everyone. I can only recommend it to those with an accepting ear and an open mind.

Tom Sekowski

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