Krystian Shek released a number of superb and still underrated albums on Namlook’s FAX imprint over the years; his first Carpe Sonum offering, 2014’s Sometimes Not, was a bracing return to form, and al-Qāhirah is the follow-up, and it’s a dandy, a longform slice of far-flung ethnotronica that speaks within dub’s mother tongue but jettisons the lockstep rhythmic underpinning. In so doing, Shek’s augured quite a brilliant thing: digidub that is all languid pools of sound, froth, reverberation, and echo, plunging the listener into a vast abyssal chamber whose sounds mimic the detritus found in long-abandoned sensory deprivation tanks. Yet the whole experience is becalming, welcoming, and thoroughly non-isolationist: throughout the fifteen-minute excursion of the title track, we are treated to a rainbow coalition of thrillingly sculpted shimmers lighting up a desert night sky like some man-made aurora borealis. Shek’s skill lies in his ability to showcase works of ‘ambience’ that are leagues removed from Eno’s hoary old definition—this is a music of flares and fanfare, bursting with light, drunk on the absinthe of nature.
Mick Chillage appears to be able to master any style with ease. Here Mick returns to immersive electronic soundscapes a la Faxology or (M)odes but with AOC flavours in places. Another solid and moody release. Edit: perhaps a more cyberpunk feel than others.... Pablo Adaskabar