Our first Introduction to the quasi-mystical drone and cavernous noise swells of Cheb Samdoun were on the second four-way split from Tome favorite of all favorites German Shepherd‘s Sunrise Acoustic label. While the first four-way split found its conceptual thrust from the physical and metaphysical act of traveling, this second split entitled For Gunde Svan found Tuluum Shimmering/German Shepherd/Cheb Samdoun/Zac Keiller meditating on the 80’s Swedish ski legend Gunde Svan’s contributions to the sport of cross-country skiing. Samdoun’s contributions to that shimmering, oscillating quartet of static-spewing guitar slingers was a top notch slab of fuzzed-out major chord riffage stretched ad infinitum.
Samdoun’s LP on Sunrise, with his purported “Iridescent Ensemble,” is a gorgeous, snarling, spiritual of holy dove innocence and root-poultice, soul-eating shamanism. Composed around the diving and submerging output of a gently mangled guitar, the ebb and flow of Samdoun’s drones embody so much physical space it is easy to trace a line with your finger the direction they soar and dip. Samdoun knows how to get you on the upswing. Glorious noise-swells completely encompass even the most expensive headphones. Sounds as huge as this (see: “Nothing is More Evident than Light” and the last 20 seconds of “The Illumionationist”) would have you reaching for the volume knob if they weren’t so impregnated with an inward lit luminance that support even the harshest noise swell.
It seems Cheb Samdoun is cut from a similar turquoise colored, diamond patterned, hand-sewn cloth as mystical-drone luminaries as Silver Antlers and the recent SLC export Stag Hare. Album opener “Ya Habib Ya Habib” feature the only vocals on the album, a half invocation/half prayer that features the titular line chanted over and over a few times. A deeply buried bass line shares an eeirie similarity to the human voice in the beginning of “Nobody Understands Music”. A deep guttarul plunk that reverberates until all the auxilary noise is stripped away. Later in the song Samdoun viscously manhandles a symbol to create a ringing, clattering noise shard that lodges itself like a piece of glass in the golden throat of the tracks angelic refrain. Pretty thrilling stuff. This move is a sparse foray into the low end on an album that occupies the mid-to-high ranges so completely.
Crawford has wisely pointed out that 2010 has been a pretty stellar year for ambient/drone music. What makes it even better is that some of 2010’s brightest stars; Chris Rehm, Evan Caminiti and Cheb Samdoun were completely unknown to us before 2010. Sunrise Acoustics is offering this wonderful little album for a free download.