huge thanks to Mark Richardson and Marc Hogan for their support!
New Music: Land of Kush: "Against the Day" [MP3/Stream]
These days the Land of Kush is anyplace with legalized medicinal-marijuana use. But the original Land of Kush was an ancient civilization also known as Nubia, located in the present-day Republic of Sudan. And the stuff the rappers smoke was named after a mountain range in Afghanistan, so yeah. The Land of Kush relevant to this post is a 30-plus-member Montreal ensemble "modeled on classical orchestras from late Nasser-era Egypt." Yep, that sounds like a Land of Kush, all right.
Led by veteran local musician/composer Sam Shalabi, Land of Kush debuted Against the Day in a live performance last June during Montreal's annual Suoni Per Il Popolo, then documented their genre-crossing work in the studio for Constellation. Named after Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day, the album is broken into five sections corresponding with the chapters of the novel. The title track shows how Shalabi harnesses the energy of having so many people in one place to create a chop-heavy sound in the tradition of Amon Düül's Psychedelic Underground epics, spanning psych, Middle Eastern, and North African influences: warbling saxophones, galloping drums, dazzling guitars, shrieking woodwinds, etc. In the context of previous work that Shalabi has called "protest music about Arabophobia," though, it's not just a communal happening; "Against the Day" is also a reminder that the Arab world is much more than "Terrorland." Heavy.
Click to stream "Against The Day" here!
* Land of Kush's "Against The Day" will be released on March 17th c/o Constellation Records