While Egypt is seized by historic disruption and protest, thoughts turn to what has been disrupted, what culture is on hold. The websites of two instrumental contemporary electronic musicians, Hassan Khan (at hassankhan.com) and Mahmoud Refat (at 100copies.com), are currently not quite offline, but not quite online, either. This may entirely be a coincidence (I hadn’t been on either site recently), but as of this morning, the Khan has been reduced to a holding page, and the links on Refat go to a server error. At times, the Refat doesn’t load at all. Web searches that lead to deeper pages on the Khan site have partial yields (such as one for his excellent 2002 album Tabla Dubb, though its embedded MP3 URLs, which direct to cairobus.com, are no longer functioning).
Fortunately, there are numerous YouTube videos and, at archive.org, an hour-long set in Berlin by Khan (pictured above) from January 2008 (MP3). The set seems to have been given the title “Incidence.” The concert was held by the organization salonbruit.org.
It’s an almost haltingly quiet performance, with what sound like melting pianos set against rough breezes, cicada rhythms channeled into techno dirges, oscillating synthesizers, industrial churn, and more. A brief liner note gives some context:
For tonight’s evening Khan presents a seamless continuous mixture of older and newer music pieces including: lust, figure and ground, KOMPRESSOR (music based on translating sets of dreams), lamptone, G.R.A.H.A.M., beautiful music and host. The Pieces are accompanied by different video sequences specially shot by the artist (a monochorome Red that slowly shifts color, vertiginous dream-like tracking/crane shots of solitary public lamps at night, a portrait of a photographer, a Lynchian moment where a desk lamp is transformed into something else etc..).
More on the performance, which dates from January 25, 2008, at archive.org. Also playing at the event were Tron Lennon and Tetsuya Hori.
Earlier today, on the Disquiet pages at the two social networks that have become part of the story of the political uprising (twitter.com/disquiet and facebook.com/disquiet.fb), I shared some links to related music, including a video of Khan playing from 2009 (from which the above still image is taken) and a track off Refat’s album The Physical Volume, which dates from 2006. (It’s a small world. Refat’s music has appeared on several albums alongside that of Zimoun, whose concert in San Francisco was covered here earlier this week.) I’ll likely do more of the same as the situation in Egypt unfolds.
2 thoughts on “Glitch Like an Egyptian (MP3)”
Marc, here’s a video of Abou Asala (a group featuring Ahmed Basiony) that I shot while I was performing at the 100Live Festival in Cairo last May:
Basiony is at the keyboard. He’s a sound artist and multi-instrumentalist. Not finding a good representative site for him that’s functional at the moment, but here are a couple images of one of his installation/performance pieces:
Very nice. Thanks for that. It led me to this: