Review

Saint Abdullah & Eomac

Chasing Stateless

Planet µ • 2023

»I always felt that the intensity of the Middle Eastern soul needs to be revealed more potently. Ian and the Irish have it too. I suspect most historically oppressed cultures do.« These words come from Mohammad, one half of the Iranian-Canadian brother duo Saint Abdullah. Together with Eomac, their Irish collaborator, they have produced the album »Chasing Stateless«. To be heard on it: Heavily distorted beats over Middle Eastern vocal samples. Sometimes this sounds restrained and focused on the voices, but on tracks like »Of Christo« a powerful groove develops over sharp-edged breaks, thanks to dreamy lo-fi house pads, fast-paced dafs and, as with Nicolas Jaar’s Against All Logic project, samples that find the melody in dialogue. The groove thrives on its rawness and powerful distortion, spreading shredded sample patches of improbable, brute beauty. Against the backdrop of current events, however, it is difficult to enjoy tracks with striking names like »Frequently Fugitive«, »No Negotiations And No Dialogue« or »Lonely Is Our Non-Existent House Yard«, which are reminiscent of Muslimgauze in their urgency. Without the performers taking sides too openly, a high level of aggression runs through this powerful album, which unfortunately seems disconcerting at the moment. Tracks like the poignant »Sunday Painter«, with its rounded, polyrhythmic beat and gentle piano taps, help.