Carl Gari & Abdullah Miniawy - The Act of Falling from the 8th Floor
A departure somewhat from the usual floor-focused output of London-based label Whities, this six-track collaborative EP from German electronic group Carl Gari and Egyptian vocalist Abdullah Miniawy bears the considerable weight of contemporary political discourse. It follows two previous joint EPs, Darraje and Shipster, from 2016 and 2018 respectively, each of which dealt with the Al-Sisi regime and resulting oppression of free-speaking artists like Miniawy. He was forced to flee to France, eventually gaining asylum.
The Act of Falling from the 8th Floor is a conceptual record, with Miniawy playing the protagonist. Committing suicide (jumping from a Cairo high rise) each track depicts a dark scene as he flashes past each balcony; a powerful premise given substantive life through the Egyptian's compelling vocal. Ranging from mournful (Haj حاج) to angry (B'aj بعاج) to heartfelt (Zawaj زواج) the sincerity never comes into question, even if a translation isn't readily at hand!
What makes everything click though is the underlying music. Like Lucy's Dyscamupia and King Midas Sound's Solitude, the narrative may overshadow proceedings but it's the fine and subtle work of Carl Gari that binds things together so seemingly effortlessly. I particularly love the reverberant bass and dubby guitar feedback on opening track Zyaj زياج that works so well with Miniawy's pleasant baritone. On closing track Hela هيلا, the power of his vocal brings to mind the work of Sinead O'Connor (circa The Lion and the Cobra). Miniawy even plays a beautifully sombre trumpet on Zyaj زياج.
An essential release.
- Rating: 9/10
- Listens: 18
- Highlight: Zawaj زواج
- Label: Whities
- Release Date:6th September