I guess that i am a pretty middle of the road
kind of guy. I mean, i like a good song as much as the next
person. I can appreciate the value of happy bouncey pop music.
But i also enjoy deeper listening, music that pushes boundaries
and explores new sonic textures.
However, well, it's possible to go to far. Some of the pop
stuff Malimus listens to is too polished and sunshiney and squeaky
clean for me to stomach. And some experimentalism goes off the
deep endinto into gratuitous noise. I'm thinking free jazz here,
or experimental electronic music. Heck, sometimes they don't
even try to hide it, and simply refer to things as "noise".
I don't like noise. I like music. I like some sort of structure
that i can discern, and i am willing to expend a bit more effort
than the average schmoe to locate and follow such structure.
I have to expend quite a bit of effort to appreciate The Shalabi
Effect. I have heard this band mentioned as a psychedelic combo,
and i like psychedelic music. Yeah, Pink Floyd, SIANspheric,
Spaceman 3 -- that's cool stuff. But there is a place where
psychedelia and free jazz meet. That place is reservered for
Captain Beefheart (which i could barely stand), and, now, The
The Shalabi Effect do some cool things. For example, One
Last Glare is built out of a beautiful guitar riff layered
behind Middle Eastern percussion. It's a nice fusion, and this
is my favorite tune on the disc.
The Shalabi effect also push some boundaries. There are all
sorts of exotic "world music" instruments sounds. The echoey
Middle Eastern drumming mentioned above, flamenco guitar on
Sundog Ash, deep African sounding drums on Mr. Titz
(The Revelator), and all sorts of nature sounds. Their use
of rhythm is noteworthy, especially on Mr. Titz.
They also, sometimes, fail to gel into any recognizable structure,
or they wander, seemingly aimlessly, into the unstructured noise
territory. The most obvious example of this is on A Glow
In The Dark, which is the album closer. It's about 21 minutes
long, and starts off with some, well, noise. Slowly other istruments
join in: percussion, some guitar i think. It becomes a decent
free jazz tune, but the amorphous noise in the background becomes
fundamentally disturbing after a few minutes.... And the song
really fails to solidify into anything else.
In all honesty i can't take this album in one sitting, and
i am pretty open-minded. A tune or two here or there is a nice
change of pace, but all of them at once is draining. As i said:
i have to expend too much effort to figure out what is going
on. It wears me out, and i kind of get the impression that this
is supposed to "meditative" music. I couldn't meditate to this
-- there is too much going on to ever really focus on it. So,
if that was The Shalabi Effect's intention, i would say that
Still, i can enjoy this album in small does, whereas i think
that most humans (and every other Minion) would be hard pressed
to listen to this album all the way through, even once.
On the other hand, there is not much else out there like this.
They do some things that i have never really heard before, and
it is interesting. So if you really like challenging stuff,
i think you will enjoy this. If you are not so much into "pushing
the envelope" then this really isn't for you.