May 30, 2017

Omar Souleyman | To Syria, With Love

ARTIST: Omar Souleyman
TITLE: To Syria, With Love
LABEL: Mad Decent
Electronic dabke singer Omar Souleyman is back with his third studio album in four years. This is his ninth full-length USA-European release since 2007, not to mention the over 500 cassettes on the market in Syria. His first studio album Wenu Wenu was produced by Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) who introduced a touch of EDM cleanliness to the rough live sound we got used to from the original Sublime Frequencies cassette compilations: thumping 4/4 drum beats, overpowering synth and electric saz, Omar’s imploring vocals, all of it slightly (or more) overmodulated. This one, produced by Omar’s manager Mina Tosti for Diplo’s Mad Decent imprint, is going for the best of both worlds – the clarity of Wenu Wenu with even more bottom end, yet more of the cassettes’ manic edge – and it largely succeeds. Track 2 is the most frenetic (145 bpm); the dirge-like 6 is its alter-ego. The rest of the material is mid-tempo (100-120 bpm); my favorite is the creepily melodic 4. New keyboard player Hasan Alo is a terrific replacement for Rizan Sa’id. I’d say this is Omar’s studio best so far, and a great place to start if you haven’t yet been bitten by the dabke spider.
TOP TRACKS:    1    2    4    5    6

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