88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Don't Sleep On: the Raz...

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...Mesinai and Badawi that is. His latest release continues the line of fine dubplates with a distinctive middle eastern flavor that rather than embellishment, forms the bedrock of the excellent Unit Of Resistance. The album showcases Mesinai at work with a fine cast of producers and musicians; from Kode 9, a dubstep producer to Juakali, a reggae sing-jay the more experimental work of DJ Spooky, Mesinai, or Badawi as he is often known, creates an album of curious alchemy.

The album is born from the claustrophobia and fear generated in the wake of 9/11, and at least one of the songs on the album has a mash up of media coverage surrounding the times set to the deconstructive mayhem of DJ Spooky (aka Paul Miller), that is fitting for an album with ambitions of art and the immediacy of those times. Though the emotions stretch back in time, the album is new, and comes highly recommended by me. It's moody and reflective with some deep middle-eastern musical elements that charge the overall with the sense of exotic. Which is saying something considering it's pretty far out there rhythmically speaking, to begin with. Here are some of his details from his web-site...

Raz Mesinai was born in Jerusalem in 1973. His first two decades were spent in frequent transit between Jerusalem and New York City, where he became immersed in both the worlds of traditional Middle Eastern music, and the dub and hip-hop scenes of the eighties and early nineties in New York City. He became involved in the avant-garde, downtown music scene of New York City, performing, improvising, and leading his own ensembles on percussion, piano and sampler.

Mesinai's electronic and electro-acoustic music exists at the crossroads of composition, sound design and modern studio production. His acclaimed recordings under the moniker Badawi, and as one half of the seminal duo Sub Dub (with John Ward), are difficult to classify, but have been called hybrid electronica/dub/percussion/avant-garde compositions. Since 1999, Mesinai has been releasing music under his own name as well, including three releases on John Zorn's "Tzadik" label...

...Mesinai has collaborated with many of New York's top musicians, including Eyvind Kang, Mark Dresser, Marc Ribot, Mark Feldman, John Zorn, Shelley Hirsch, Elliott Sharp and Zeena Parkins, among many others. His work has been commissioned by the Lincoln Center Festival, the Jerome Foundation and the American Music Center. In 2001, "Soldier of Midian" (ROIR) received an award from the Ars Electronica festival. In 2002, Raz was a featured artist in the "Next, Next Wave" festival of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and opened for Nubian master musician Hamza El Din at Lincoln Center, a personal highlight. In 2004, following his developing interest in visual narrative and storytelling in music, Mesinai was a Fellow at the Sundance Composer's Lab where he had the opportunity to participate in workshops with such artists as John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov and Thomas Newman. He's currently scoring several films

And if you've had enough of this, then that must only mean it's time for some music... this is "Crows feat Juakali," the last song on the album and a good one that only scratches the surface of the album that's pretty damn deep...

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=QzaTbeiku9Y]