Review

Abdur Razzaq & Rafiyq

The Night Of Power (Laylatu’l Qadri)

Séance Centre • 1983

Never was the name of the label Séance Centre more fitting than for one of its releases.  For one night during Ramadan in 1982, two guys turn their home studio in tranquil Berlin, New Jersey, USA into a séance centre and make their first and last record.  Their names are Dennis Matthews and Calvin Vivian and they call themselves Abdur Razzaqand Rafiyq.  One of them creates infinitely looped soundscapes with a Fender Rhodes, Minimoog and Roland CR-78.  The other writes poems rooted in Islamic doctrine (I don’t know if the two have reverted to Islam or if it’s more of a general interest, so I’ll leave it at that) that deal with the threat of cultural decay through materialism and new technologies, also calling for de-Europeanisation or for the preservation of the world for an unborn generation.   

On this night in 1982, everything finally comes together, sound and poetry.  A year later, the whole thing is then released in a small pressing run on the Green Essence Records label. What a plot! »The Night of Power (Laylatu’l Qadri)« is the name of both the record and the 32-minute core piece, which has to be interrupted after just under 21 minutes on vinyl and picks up where it left off on the B-side.  This is followed by the six-and-a-half-minute instrumental piece with the programmatic title »Reflections from the Grave«.  Overall, the record sounds like one of those language-learning cassettes from the nineties that promised to teach you an entire language in your sleep.  I woke up and was no longer afraid of death.  Brilliant!