As we hold more and more cultural achievements from across times, cultures, and ideologies in our present memory, and allow for their instantaneous access through digital archives and the Internet, we operate within a cultural fabric that is culturally and temporally stretched further than ever before: the presence expands into the past.
Spanning an arc from the archaic past to the hypermodernity of the present day, the festival’s Closing Concert unites musicians that are nourished by the clouded enigmas and sounds of a pre-modern past, but firmly entrench them into the present. First, contemporary Arabic oud (lute) player Khyam Allami performs alongside percussionist Vasilis Sarikis. With firm roots in Iraq’s Maquam musical tradition, yet drawing on contemporary influences such as postrock and western avant-garde, Allami’s stark and utterly bewitching compositions set a tense and uneasy calm before Sunn O)))’s low-frequency ceremony.
Creating massive wave-pools that are loud though rarely harsh, the sounds of Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley’s Sunn O))) start low and intensify incrementally until they've transformed the entire listening area into a vibrating chamber teeming with elegant sustain. Adding to the timeless sensory overload of the Sunn O))) experience, the duo obscures themselves in clouds of thick fog, dressing in hooded robes, periodically thrusting guitars toward the sky as they lead us to the thundering close to CTM.13.
The massive wave-pools Sunn O))) create are more akin to the precisely oscillating soundscapes of minimalist drone composer Tony Conrad than some flint-fingered pseudo-Sabbath acolytes.
Born in Damascus to Iraqi parents and raised in London, Khyam Allami is an active multi-instrumentalist, audio engineer, label head, researcher, composer, and more.
Sarikis is a composer and percussionist specialising in Eastern Mediterranean and Balkan percussion. He plays with leading groups like the award winning Shekoyokh Klezmer, the Attab Haddad Quintet, and the Sabina Rakcheyeva Ensemble, and composes for various outfits under the name Impulse.
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