Badshahi

by VIZIER OF DAMASCUS

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about

REVIEWS

Behind the truly refined and evocative name of Vizier Of Damascus hides Arfan Munir-Rai, a lecturer in philosophy from London, and this is his first release for Rednetic. The nine tracks of this EP were recorded over a period of two years during which Arfan travelled through Yemen, Libya, Syria, Socotra, Afghanistan, North Pakistan and Uzbekistan before reaching Samarkand where his family originates.

Clocking at just over half an hour, Badshahi is an impressive journey through wonderfully lush sound structures and cinematic soundscapes. With the majority of compositions remaining below the three-minute mark, with the notable exception of the title track, Rai collects impressive sonic vignettes and carefully applies layer after layer of sound and melody to maintain the balance between the structural intricacy of his work and the impact created by his fluid melodies.

As the EP progresses through a variety of terrains, from the vocoder of Lectures, to the ethereal string work of Just The One Lament, the music flows effortlessly from one track to the next, each drawing on different atmospheric elements, yet forming an overall cohesive piece of work. While some soundscapes show signs of abrasions (Lectures, 74 Browning), other prove extremely sleek and luxurious. The general aspect of this EP is downbeat and peaceful, and tracks such as the impressive Lament Halves, the incredibly detailed Badshahi or 570 A.D contribute to this EP being the most impressive release from Rednetic yet.
THE MILKFACTORY

“Badshahi” is the title of an excellent release and debut from “Vizier of Damascus” on Rednetic (OCT 2005). This release also holds an eerie actuality related to recent events regarding subjects like tolerance, respect and freedom of speech and the confusion surrounding them in the World of today. “Badshahi” is filled with Middle Eastern / Arabic influences creating a thoroughly beautiful and thoughtful album stretching nine songs long. The album starts off with the vocoderized introduction “Lectures” immediately setting the mood (the only thing missing really is a transcript of the text, but then again it heightens the overall mystical feeling in an effective way to say the least.) “Badshahi” is set in down-tempo mode and features tracks based on stunning soundscapes and atmosphere. As with any good piece of music a written account just doesn’t do it justice. This album comes highly recommended and you should investigate it now!
RESURFACE/ELECTRONIC DESERT

This is potentially my favourite release on Rednetic so far. The Joseph Auer CD really hit the spot and the other releases have been high quality Electronica all round, but this, this just has something really cool about it all the way though. For the paltry sum of £3.99 you get a nine track selection that can only be described as sculptural Electronica of the higest calibre. Mixing up more traditional downbeat, Boards-esque sounds with incredibly dense and beautiful soundscapes the end result is listenable, deep and very fertile indeed. Added to that is a very pleasing Middle Eastern / Arabic influence throughout several of the tracks that makes them even more evocative. Bit of a winner all round really. Highly recommended.
SMALLFISH RECORDS

Sur le même label, après quelques écoutes, j'ai aussi déniché Arfan Munir-Rai, alias Vizier of Damascus, un anglais dont les racines familiales sont en Arabie, vers Samarcande, bref dans un Orient peut-être en partie fantasmé -comme on peut le voir sur son site Myspace. "Badshahi", un neuf titres, est un disque prenant inspiré par ses voyages de la Lybie à l'Ouzbékistan. Morceaux emprunts d'une poignante mélancolie, avec "Lament halves", lui aussi très inspiré par l'estonien Arvo Pärt, un canon magnifique piqueté de beats et de scratches ; paysages sonores apaisés, baignés de lumière diffuse dans l'hypnose des soirs interminables, comme sur le titre éponyme hanté par un hypothétique muezzin. L'impression que le temps s'est arrêté, soudain, immémorial à jamais, déconnecté de toutes les folies humaines. Il y a du mystique chez ce voyageur en quête d'origines, sculpteur attentif d'espaces sonores denses déchirés par des percussions erratiques.
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credits

released September 1, 2005

all tracks arranged, composed and produced by Arfan Munir-Rai
Rednetic Recordings
2005.

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VIZIER OF DAMASCUS Samarkand, Uzbekistan

VIZIER OF DAMASCUS TELLS STORIES OF CLASSICAL ISLAMIC HERITAGE.

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