Vizier Of Damascus’s Arfan Munir-Rai is not your usual electronic head. Born in London from a family with roots in Persia, Central Asia and the Khyber Pass, Rai is currently a lecturer in philosophy and religion in London.
Ephemeral Quiets follows Rai’s debut EP, Badshahi, for the ever-excellent Rednetic Recordings. Published on his own imprint, Tree Symmetry, Ephemeral Quiets charts a much wider and more complex scope than Badshahi. Spread over twenty-one tracks spanning nearly eighty minutes, Ephemeral Quiets is a sumptuous collection of introvert electronic pieces, the shortest clocking at just under thirty seconds while the longest stretches past the eight minute mark. Weaving intricate sonic structures into rich and warm soundscapes, with a clear emphasis on the spiritual meaning of each composition, Rai slowly unveils the nature of his work. Working from a combination of polished electronic sounds, statics and clicks, field recordings and occasional vocal samples, Arfan focuses primarily on the sonic canvas of each track, building up layer after layer of sound and melody, and develops a truly introspective tone throughout this album. The focus is very much on the inner-self, and the listener is invited to reflect and pause, a rare occurrence in a world too busy with accumulating profit. Ephemeral Quiets can at will disappear in the background or become synonymous with an instant without losing any of its qualities.
Due to the nature of the work on offer here, it is almost impossible to isolate a single piece. Ephemeral Quiets is bigger than the sum of its parts, and can at times feel slightly overwhelming, yet perseverance is truly rewarding. Arfan covers such a wide spectrum of tones and textures with this record, evoking in turn the hustle and bustle of urban life and the more peaceful and pastoral pace of his roots, that it is impossible not to succumb to the sheer beauty of tracks such as Swaat Interf, Saving The Guava Tree, Khwaab or Multan For Mysticism and the meticulous assemblages of Semi Circled Flame, Sajda or Qaswaan.
All the way through, Vizier Of Damascus manages to constantly refresh the atmospheric setting of his work while retaining the same spiritual tone, making Ephemeral Quiets a piece of work which instantly stands out from the rest.
released November 3, 2005
all tracks arranged, composed and produced by Arfan Munir-Rai for TreeSymmetry Recordings
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