Jerusalem in My Heart - Daqa'iq Tudaiq - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Jerusalem in My Heart - Daqa'iq Tudaiq

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2018-10-05
Jerusalem in My Heart - Daqa'iq Tudaiq
Jerusalem in My Heart - Daqa'iq Tudaiq

Three years after his brilliant sophomore set, If He Dies, If If If If If If, Lebanese Canadian Radwan Ghazi Moumneh has returned with his latest set under the Jerusalem In My Heart moniker, entitled Daqa'iq Tudaiq. As with his previous set, he sinks deeply and luxuriously into the sounds of Arabia. This is absolutely a great set to pick up if you're curious about the music of that part of the world, as it manages to be an homage to sounds of the old world while adding in a few odd flourishes here and there to stay unpredictable and fresh.

The first four tracks are part of a longer suite, 'Wa Ta'atalat Loughat Al Kalam' ("The Language of Speech Has Broke Down"), which is a modern recreation of 'Ya Garat Al Wadi' ("Oh Neighbour of the Valley") by Egyptian composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab, performed by a fifteen-piece orchestra composed of instruments including the riq (a kind of tambourine), santur (a hammered dulcimer), derbakeh (a hand drum), and kanun (a stringed instrument vaguely similar to a harp lying on its side on a board). The first two parts are very similar, and very traditional in composition and instrumentation. These are the classic sounds of the desert, true to the original style; you can practically feel the dry heat radiating off them. Moumneh works his voice like a master, drawing it out into moaning swaths of sound like a tailor sewing sails for a long journey. There's a mysterious, magnetic quality to the music as it pulls you into its world, like a belly dancer seducing you with her many veils.

The third track essentially deconstructs the music of the first two, like a slow-motion explosion in deep space. All the pieces float away, and a bleary, tripped-out synth line warps the human instruments. The contrast could not be stronger, as the effects almost make it sound like you're underwater, a far from from the dessicated wanderings that come before. The fourth track in the suite is clearly intended as a brief reprise, as it brings back the vocals and "normal" sounds of the first two sections, but keeps some of the glittering distortion of the third.

'Bein Ithnein' ("Between Two") goes all instrumental and smooths out the melody, which is muted down to more of a background effect, focusing on percussion and crafting a meditative groove. It is fairly repetitive, but slowly morphs itself enough to keep things interesting. 'Thahab, Mish Roujou', Thahab' ("The Act of Departing, Not Returning, Departing") switches back to a vocal-centric approach, but the voice is bizarrely modulated with freaky, skittering and popping synthetics mashed into it. The overall effect is both disturbing and hypnotic.

'Layali Al-Rast' returns to a straightforward style, with a jangling, complex melody and simple beats taking the listener on a frantic tour through a vast, ancient city. The final track is perhaps the only significant misstep on the set. Moumneh's vocals and the instrument (I think a buzuk here) don't quite match up; the latter feels decidedly off-key. Luckily, that last song is only two minutes long, but it is a bit of a head scratcher as a closer.

I swear, when I listen to these songs, I can see the sun blazing down on my head. They are powerfully tied to a particular place on the planet and evoke it perfectly. Despite the fact that there's basically nothing else I listen to that anything like this album, or any of Moumneh's work, I find his music a true delight.

Overall Rating (1)

5 out of 5 stars
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Great review! Got the debut album years back, the catchy Mo7it Al-Mo7it so am definitely intrigued. For something similar (or at least within a similar ballpark) try Sun City Girls or Master Musicians of Bukkake :)