Shalabi Effect - Feign to Delight Gaiety of Gods (2CD Annihaya)
Of sharing stories of intimacy and making guitars that sound like the muezzin’s call for prayer. On their latest (released on the Lebanese Annihaya records) the Canadian collective Shalabi Effect, in an attempt to mend icensed memories, syrupy stickiness and b-movie dialogues, probably succeeded in creating a true gem, something worth calling their best to date. The many references on Feign to delight are obvious, there’s some hint of kraut, more than once there’s Legendary Pink Dots hypnotic psychedelica, a lot of seventies curiosa ; think Lard Free, L’Infonie and jazzy improvisation. Yet there is no moment of mimicking others, all flirting is used to prepare for an intoxicated take on the here and now, and at the utmost gazing from here into celestial views.
That would then also be the only negative I could say about the Feign to Delight, the overabundance of styles passing by (the progressive poetry of Born Again Lesbians, the jazz of Chicken Wings, the Conrad/Faust hints of Empathy Box and so on) can arouse the impression that these guys had some difficulties to choose and for only that reason had to use 2 discs. It is however the authenticity that forgives and even makes the length work in its favor. Although what we hear is primarily Shalabi Effect, their approach strongly reminds me of the free spirits of Agitation Free and their compulsive need to include oriental explorations. Nice effect of this is that during the hours venturing with Shalabi into experimentation one easily gets lost in some sort of an exquisite bazaar.
The second disc offers more wild kraut experimentation and moves in lots of directions, and at several moments, when boundaries start wearing thin between sedation and seduction, (hypnotized by endless tablas sessions) there’s the risk of becoming addicted to the music. This disc concludes with 30 minutes of ‘White Phosphorus Christmas’, carrying away the listener even further, making sure the way home is incredibly hard to find. This half hour indeed has some chemistry at work, as hidden forms beautifully unfold and relax, slowly letting go of its narcotics without being noticed. An underground tribute to freedom or a modern fairytale describing successful stories of multi culturalism existing below the radar of popular music. I still am not sure what precisely makes these discs so special, but who cares as long as it works. PvdG.