Labrecque/Barakat - Terminal Desert (CD Karl Records)

The names Ghazi Barakat and Paul LaBrecque shouldn’t be alien to you. For over two and a half decades they have individually been creating forward thinking music. This is continued on ‘Terminal Desert’. Musically its business as usual with Barakat playing the guembri, Moog synthesizer, beats, rauschpfeife and LaBrecque on guitar and synthesizer, but thematically this is most elaborate music each have put their names too. 

Throughout ‘Terminal Desert’ the melodies come thick and fast. Sometimes too thick and, well, fast. Everything is hidden under layers upon layers of audio detritus. All of this is brought back to me during ‘Jajouka Pipe Dream’. Inspired by the Moroccan powerhouse group The Master Musicians of Jajouka, the song features hypnotic horns, claustrophobic flutes, and ramshackle percussion. It reminds me of shifting sand dunes and going to the beach as a kid. I’d be playing in the sand with trucks, figures and the obligatory bucket and spade. When I was told we were eating I’d shift my weight turning around and when I came back my mini metropolis was hidden under sand. As I’d sift through the sand to uncover my toy I was exhilarated as I wasn’t sure if I’d find them or not. This feeling happens throughout. When you hear a glorious melody, you wonder if you’ll hear it again or not. So, you sift through the layers of sound until you can make it out again. If ‘Jajouka Pipe Dream’ was about making you feel something organic, ‘Planet R-101’ creates inorganic feelings. The title feels like a nod to space and, or space travel. And space is all through this track. Throbbing synths and basslines give the serene guitars room to float about above us. It is a stark opposite of the oppressive first track.  

Overall ‘Terminal Desert’ works best when you let it flow over, and around, you. This is an album to play during those moments of either quiet contemplation or intense concentration. It has enough intricate motifs going on to hold your attention, but also enough broad brushstrokes that will keep you on the task at hand. NR