Friday, June 26, 2015

Recording: Suuns + Jerusalem In My Heart

Artist: Suuns + Jerusalem In My Heart

Songs: Koll Lil-Mali7ati Fi Al-Khimar Al-Aswadi + Metal

Recorded at Geary Lane ("Sound Séance I": Night 2), June 13, 2015.

Suuns + Jerusalem In My Heart - Koll Lil-Mali7ati Fi Al-Khimar Al-Aswadi

Suuns + Jerusalem In My Heart - Metal

The culmination of Geary Lane's year-long journey, the inaugural version of this event overcame some bureaucratic hurdles to present a weekend-long showcase of a non-corporate alternative to the city's increasingly-crowded festival calendar. Tucked away in its little pocket on the other side of the tracks, Geary Lane does feel a little off the grid but works well as an conceptual island getaway for sonic adventurers. Partnered with Suoni Per Il Popolo, the "name" draws skewed a bit toward une certaine esthétique de Montréal but each night did include cool local sounds as well. The festival's middle night was the Big Rock Show, with the room getting packed early on with a rambunctious crowd. The music was correspondingly more in-your-face than the nights around it, and though that substituted the cool clubhouse vibe for something more akin to a warehouse party, the well-organized night still went off without a hitch.

It'd been a few years since I'd checked in on Montréal's Suuns, so I was a little surprised to see that they've managed to garner quite a room-packing following. But although they were quite clearly the draw (and it's their label that's released the collaboration at hand), in performance it definitely felt that this project was being driven by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, the cosmopolitan Beirut/Montréal sonic explorer behind the Jerusalem in My Heart project. As the set's one-two punch presented here attests, it's the rhythms and textures of the Arabic pop that he explores and deconstructs that drive this, with Suuns then adding some rock'n'roll crunch that aren't foregrounded in Moumneh's solo live performances. When those two things combined, such as in the driving "Metal", this was unbeatable stuff. A couple runs later on at what I assume were Suuns' own tracks didn't quite attain the same lift-off, but on the whole, this hour-long set felt full of an exciting energy.

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