Tuesday, July 07, 2015


Radio is an audio compass; the radio antennae, a divining rod. Positioned anywhere, it opens an exclusive window directly into the location in which it sits. Signals received on the Medium Wave (AM) and FM bands reveal programming intended for a local population by governmental, independent, "pirate", or corporate media broadcasters. Anything from low-powered ethnic minority transmissions, high-powered westernized pop stations, and omnipresent state-run radio can be found on these bands. Shortwave bands expand the breadth and scope – pulling in regional and international receptions. Everything received factors into the experience. Music, news, talk shows, advertisements, station IDs, cross-phased interference, errant or intentional static-generated sounds, distant detritus and random broadcast anomalies all become equally relevant. 

This disc continues the Sublime Frequencies locale-specific radio collage series with Vietnamese radio recordings culled and assembled from signals received in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City between December 2013 and November 2014. 

Inside the program are moments of outstanding folkloric, traditional and pop music – including performances on the electric guitar and the dan bau (one stringed guitar-like instrument), eclectic Vietnamese folk and rock stylings, dramatic effects-laden radio theater and musical segues, new wave pop forays, traditional percussion and vocal chants, news segments, dynamic radio bumpers, jingles and advertisements, comedic interludes, phoned-in karaoke sing-a-longs, English-language programming, early-morning exercise regimens, and coded messages from the outer ether. 

The grand total sum of these radio recordings doesn’t aim to present a certified ethnographic study of contemporary Vietnam. Rather, the material here aims to distill and replicate the excitement, engagement and discovery gained during heavy exposure to Vietnamese broadcasts over an eleven-month period during the teenage years of the twenty-first century. 

CD comes in a beautiful digipak with full color images, a booklet and liner notes by Mark Gergis, who recorded, compiled, sequenced and produced the project for Sublime Frequencies on location in Vietnam.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Porest – Tourrorists! (2014 Digital reissue)

Let's Roll

Tourrorists! – The fourth full-length album from your one-man detonator, POREST has just been reissued digitally. Tourrorists is a diabolical luxury excursion through swirling Mid Eastern psych-rockers, contraband cut-ups, illegal pop epics, Guantanamo disco, and instrumental songs of political sabotage. This 2014 digital reissue has been remastered and completely reconsidered for your current life – which is much worse since Tourrorists was first released. Unfortunately, Tourrorists is more fitting for this decade than the last, so what do you have to gain? Let's face the facts – If nothing can start you, then nothing can stop you. 

Tourrorism is highly downloadable via iTunes and all the familiars. 
Click here for Tourrorists on CD Baby (with sound samples)
Also available on original Compact Disc format (Abduction Records 034) via Forced Exposure




An outrageous act of subversion authored by Iraqi-American musician, media prankster and cultural saboteur Mark Gergis, “Tourrorists!” addresses the political climate and media-constructed reality of post 9/11 America with all the subtlety of an exploding pipe bomb ... Though it kicks ip a socio-political shitstorm, it’s still surprisingly musical ... Sprinkling the album with what he calls “instrumental songs of political sabotage”, he references Turkish psychedelic rock and infectious Iraqi pop, giving us a glimpse into the soul of the area that is often talked about, but rarely experienced – its rich history of creating art through joy, religious ecstasy, and passionate expressivity.  – Jim Haynes / The Wire

This might just be the most horrible album ever created … so badly written that I want to vomit … stupid instrumentation that doesn't make any sense ... This record is annoying enough to want to kill people, first of which would be the authors.  – Simon Thibaudeau / indieworkshop.com

Porest's music is thoroughly saturated with thought-provoking, point-blank politics that take deadly aim at many of the orthodox institutions that North Americans take for granted as "our way of life." Marriage, misinformation by major media corporations, domesticity, passivity, tourism, terrorism, the wholesale slaughter and exploitation of the so-called 'Third-World' by the U.S.A. and their allies (which includes us, unfortunately) ..."Tourrorists" will undoubtably go down as Porest's most inflammatory and most provocative work ... bound to piss you off or offend you in some way shape or form; and we mean that as a very high compliment.  – Aquarius Records

...Jars listeners into questioning the Orwellian slow-boil in which we're all currently immersed.  – Mike Rowell / SF Weekly

There is no doubt in my mind, "Tourrorists" is the definitive artistic statement on America's so-called War on Terror. ... Generally, I feel that music and politics rarely make good bedfellows. More often than not, the ideas pushed by today's musicians proclaiming themselves as "Political" or, even worse, "Punk Rock," either lack the intelligence to generate a real dialectic, are entirely hypocritical when one examines their lifestyles and ties to major multinationals, or simply continue to beat a dead horse that doesn't interest me in the slightest ... most of the music being made today seeks only to entertain, which is fine in and of itself, but where is the artist who would rather make himself a martyr than a minstrel show? The artist willing to be interrogated, hounded, and hated for asking the wrong questions, for saying what no one wants to hear? Mark Gergis is that kind of artist.  
– Heavy Vibes

I don't claim to understand every angle Gergis is working, but I admire his bravery in releasing an ambiguous, provocative album that could easily get him lynched in most parts of the country.  – Will York / SF Bay Guardian

"Tourrorists" might be the most devastating protest record since (Eugene Chadbourne's) "Country Music in the World of Islam".  
– Francois Couture / All Music Guide

 ... As current and confrontational a tip as creatively possible ... a venomous reaction to America, Americans and their ongoing war(s) ... uninhibitedly outspoken and thought-provoking sound-bite masterpieces ... hair-raisingly confrontational ... eerie and disturbing ... Porest lodges a well-aimed spit-wad into the eye of capitalist America. You can’t argue with the truth."  
– exclaim.ca

Porest – aka: Mark Gergis, is a composer, performer, producer and international audio/visual archivist. Across twenty years, Porest has released several solo and group efforts incorporating multi-layered music, off-pop songs, audio collage, field recordings, and surrealistic radio dramas. His solo and group live performances slip between heady multi-instrumentation, political dirty bombs and absurdist irreverence. Gergis is a co-founder of the experimental Bay Area music and performance collective Mono Pause and its offshoot Neung Phak, which performs inspired renditions of music from Southeast Asia. Since 2003, with the Sublime Frequencies label, an ethnographic music and film collective out of Seattle, Washington – and more recently, with his own record label – Sham Palace, Mark has found a platform to aptly share decades of research and countless hours of archived international music, film footage and field recordings acquired during extensive travels in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

Choubi Choubi – Folk and Pop Sounds From IRAQ (Volume. 2)

Choubi Choubi – Folk and Pop Sounds From IRAQ (Vol. 2)

In 2005, Sublime Frequencies released Choubi Choubi: Folk and Pop Sounds From Iraq – and in the ensuing years, it has become one of the most beloved and venerable titles in their catalog. Now almost 10 years later, this highly anticipated second volume is finally here. Compiler and producer Mark Gergis has once again put forth a revelatory and poignant collection of Iraq's national folk music.

What has happened to Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion and eventual occupation? Endless death, destruction and chaos, the complete take-down of a functional and sovereign secular government (regardless of your opinion on that government), puppet installations, contrived sectarian divisions, the wholesale looting of culture, rampant opportunism, and apparently no lessons learned -- all at the Iraqi people's expense.

Naturally, music has continued to be produced in Iraq -- however, since 2003, musicians and artists have been consistently targeted and attacked by extremists, who have also bombed music shops and forced the closing of venues and music halls. The musical style most prominently focused on in this volume is the infamous Iraqi choubi, (pronounced choe-bee), with its distinct driving rhythm that feature fiddles, double-reed instruments, bass, keyboards, and oud over its signature beat.

Choubi is Iraq's version of the regionally popular dabke, another celebratory Levantine folkloric style of rhythm and line dance. What really defines the Iraqi choubi sound are the crisp, rapid-fire machine-gun style percussive rhythms set atop the main beat. To the uninitiated, they sound almost electronic. Sometimes they are, but more often this is the work of the khishba -- a unique hand- drum of nomadic origin (aka the zanbour -- Arabic for wasp), which appears across the board in many styles of Iraqi music today, with extensions of it also heard in Syrian and Kuwaiti music.

Among other styles featured in this volume are Iraq's legendary brand of mawal -- an ornamental vocal improvisation that sets the tone of a song, regardless of the style, and the outstanding Iraqi hecha, with its lumbering and determined rhythm pulsing beneath sad, antagonized vocals -- as heard on tracks A4 and B2. The tracks on this collection were produced during the Saddam era -- between the 1980s and early-2000s. An important goal within the Iraqi Baathist agenda was to promote its brand of secularism, which saw the establishment of cultural centers, and a fostering of the arts. Music was more encouraged, albeit more institutionalized than ever -- particularly folkloric and heritage music such as choubi. In an Iraqi army comprised of seven divisions, Saddam referred to singers as the eighth.

Sajida Obeid, who has appeared on both volumes of Choubi Choubi, is an example of a talented Kawliya singer from the nightclub scene of the 1980s who rose to choubi infamy in Baghdad. Choubi inevitably invokes tawdry connotations within Iraqi society (cheap nightclubs for the lower classes, outcast gypsies and singing prostitutes), but in fact, many calibers of Iraqi singers and ensembles have recorded and performed the music. Unofficially, choubi can be called the national dance of Iraq. Though some may deny this claim (mostly due to its reputation and stigma), at most Iraqi weddings you'll find people from all walks flaunting their best choubi moves. Iraqi music has always had a way of transcending religious groups and ethnicity, collectively shared between Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians and myriad other Iraqi minorities. In 2013 sadly, this diversity and unity within Iraq is increasingly fragmented, but traditions continue throughout the internationally displaced diaspora.

Limited edition 2LP set in a heavy gatefold jacket with beautiful artwork and liner notes by Mark Gergis.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

New Sham Palace LP out in October...

Sham Palace and Annihaya Records are pleased to present – 
the debut international LP release from Argentina’s legendary 
"Sonido Chipadelico" (SHAM004-LP // END 09-CD)

A unique triumph of homegrown rural psychedelia, 
standing alone on the edge of an unchartered vanguard. 
Los Siquicos Litoraleños are the contemporary group 
you keep hoping exist, but can never find. 
Featuring some of the greatest moments 
in the group’s dense and damaged repertoire –
 mind-melting tropical psych-rock, swirling solar instrumentals, 
pitched down cumbias soaked in dub brine, 
and surrealist, shamanic lyrics laid across guitars, drums, 
tapes and electronics. Rich with strange passion, 
beauty, horror, experimentation, and humor.

This is probably one of the most genuine things that 
has happenedto contemporary music in many years.

44 surprising minutes of deep, multi-fidelity
electric and acoustic psychic sound-forms
for a better today.

SHAM PALACE Limited Pressing 7"
 out in late-October/Early Nov, 2013 
"Damp Circuits: The Golden Era of Synthesizers in East Asia
Volume One • Oscar Young Band" (SHAM005)
Researched & compiled by B. Ganush

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

I REMEMBER SYRIA 2013 Reissue. All proceeds to Syrian charity.

“I Remember Syria” – an album Mark Gergis put together for Sublime Frequencies in 2003/2004 – has been reissued for 2013 as a special Sublime Frequencies digital edition in conjunction with Forced Exposure – featuring an expanded downloadable booklet with photos and text. Available through iTunes and Boomkat.

The most important thing about this reissue is that all proceeds from the sale of this release will be donated to the Syrian Red Crescent - a charity that assists Syrians in need. And they are in need - so please purchase a copy or two, and tell people.

Syria doesn’t sound like it did on “I Remember Syria” anymore, and it doesn’t look like the photographs in the expanded booklet. As you may already know, Syria is suffering in the midst of unthinkable turmoil, attack and destruction. As a wide-scale humanitarian disaster continues to unfold, Syrians both within the country and in refugee camps beyond its borders are in need of immediate assistance.

“I Remember Syria” was assembled as a love letter to the country I grew to know as one of most civilized places on Earth. It contains recordings made and collected during my first travels to Syria between 1997 and 2000. Across the span of 14 years, I would travel there as frequently as possible. When initially released on Sublime Frequencies as a double-CD in 2004, the aim was to showcase and humanize a land and its people that had been politically and culturally exiled by the west for decades. Hopefully, these recordings can serve again as a testament to the beauty and unity of Syria, and the grace, hospitality and integrity of its people.

– Mark Gergis – March, 2013

“I Remember Syria” (SF009DI)

Sublime Frequencies is proud to present this digital reissue of I Remember Syria: an assemblage of field recordings, interviews, radio broadcasts and music, from one of the least-known quarters of the Arab world. Before the west associated Syria with its current crisis, it had politically and culturally isolated the country for decades – leaving little known of its contemporary peoples, or its rich heritage of art, music and culture.

Originally released as a 2-CD set in 2004, this one of a kind audio document was recorded and surgically assembled by Mark Gergis from recordings he made in Syria between 1997 and 2000. The results offer a multi-faceted glimpse into the country, as it was at the cusp of the 21st century.

Disc one features sounds from the ancient capital city of Damascus – including vivid street soundscapes, interviews, spontaneous live music, sounds captured inside the world-renowned Ummayad Mosque, and fragments of radio and television broadcasts, as well as exploring the mystery of a legendary underground city called “Kazib”.

Disc two takes us out to “Greater Syria”, capturing live musicians, political opinions of the day, radio excerpts and sketches, songs from cassette releases found around the country, and other audio anomalies. The closing track showcases the haunting sounds of wood against wood produced by the Norias – the giant irrigation waterwheels that have churned in the Orontes River, in the city of Hama, for centuries.

All proceeds from the sale of this release will be donated to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (IFRC) to support urgent humanitarian aid work during the ongoing crisis in Syria.

Purchase from iTunes and Boomkat

Audio samples HERE

Learn more about this release HERE


In October, 2012, Sham Palace released:

Indonesia Pop Nostalgia (SHAM003 LP)

An eclectic collection of inspired 1970s & 1980s Indonesian pop, folk, rock and children’s songs, culled from cassettes and vinyl. 

Indonesia Pop Nostalgia spans several contemporary popular genres – each inherently unique and born from very different cultural and geographical origins within the archipelago. All, however, are also vitally informed by the confluence of Islamic, Arabic and South Asian popular and traditional musics, alongside various western musical fads – a distinctly Indonesian blend that encompasses its histories of physical colonizations, spiritual assimilations and economic and cultural exchanges. 

With synth-heavy, funked-out rock grooves, space-age organ instrumentals, folky mood-rock, and stunning hybrid traditional/pop masterpieces, this collection features a surprising union of nostalgic musical ephemera from the islands of Java and Sumatra – connected here to serve as one of many possible entry points into the gloriously diverse sounds of Indonesian folk-pop music.

Limited stock of LPs - still available through Forced Exposure and fine record stores.

Listen HERE for samples.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Now available on SHAM PALACE...
Dabke – Sounds of the Syrian Houran (SHAM002LP)

SHAM PALACE is pleased to present on LP :
A hypnotic collection of electrified Syrian dabke dance cuts 
from the southern region known as the Houran – 
issued here for the first time in the West.

Dabke is the celebratory music and dance found throughout the Levantine Middle East. By the mid-1990s, a new wave of high-energy electronic dabke music had emerged -- to be heard at weddings, parties and cassette-stalls region-wide. New wave dabke was first introduced to Western ears by way of Omar Souleyman and his northeastern Syrian sounds. This collection presents a hypnotic and diverse selection of electrified dabke dance cuts from a region in the south of Syria known as the Houran. The Houran refers to a swathe of south Syria and northwestern Jordan, beginning just below Damascus, and encompassing the Syrian cities of Daraa, Suweida, Bosra and the Golan Heights. Its populations include Syrians, Bedouin, Druze, Palestinians and Jordanians -- and this unique confluence of cultures is evident throughout these tracks. Hourani dabke is relentless and commanding, driven by heavy rhythms and weaving synthesizers. Long passages of intense musical fervor are punctuated by fierce male vocals, belting out calls for the audience to dance, alongside the lyrical laments and tributes to love and lust. But the sound of the Houran is best defined by the mijwiz -- a double-reed bamboo flute famed for its droney overtones as well as shrill, buzzing melodic lines achieved by circular breathing techniques. Historically, Hourani dabke was played with mijwiz, hand percussion and narrative vocal chants. Electronic beats have inevitably embellished the contemporary sound, magnifying the intensity -- and the mijwiz players have taken their craft to the microphone, in order to maintain the instrument's prominence over the resulting volume. The sampled mijwiz sound has its own specific qualities and in recent years, can even be heard in combination with its organic counterpart. The recordings featured in this collection were captured live to the mixing desk during weddings and parties throughout the Houran during the 1990s and 2000s, and represent a mere sliver of the sounds found in tape and disc vendors throughout the region. Limited pressing of 1,000.

Out now – and available from 

Forced Exposure and in fine record stores.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New NEUNG PHAK album, "2" now out on CD and available through Forced Exposure distribution (and fine record stores)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Three new Porest albums to be featured on Radio Boredcast for AV Festival

Three new POREST albums
to be featured on
March 2 • 5 • 8 • 10 • 18 • 19 • 21

Porest has produced three programs for this rather incredible 744-hour continuous radio broadcast for the AV Festival's month-long exhibit - As Slow as Possible - Check the schedule HERE, as there are an incredible range of artists and programming - curated by Vicki Bennett.

= all times and dates are listed in GMT UK time =

FRI 2 MARCH: 9.57AM // MON 5 MARCH: 7.26AM // THU 8 MARCH: 2.10AM

POREST – Morocco • Jordan • Syria • Turkey • Laos • Thailand
Be loosely transported from west to east via sound, music & transmissions recorded by Mark Gergis between the years 1997–2010 in the aforementioned locations.

SAT 10 MARCH: 8.30AM // SUN 18 MARCH: 3.48PM

POREST – Plebian Crawl
01 Chinon
02 Death of a Hero
03 Straight and Strong
(ft. Erik Gergis & Christopher Davis)

04 Low Perch
05 Self Interest International
06 Vertebrae
07 Tumoré
08 Debis
09 Ludent
10 Swirly Gates
11 Two Years
12 Mid-Stride Sensitive Poised
13 Spoke Rom Vong
14 Eternity
15 Drift

Recorded by Mark Gergis between 1993–2011. Sequenced for Radio Boredcast, 2012.

MON 19 MARCH: 8.18AM // WED 21 MARCH: 5.31PM

Sounds received via the short wave, medium wave and FM bands of a portable radio positioned throughout central Europe between 1997–1999. Explorations in turn of the century broadcast music, news and sounds found just between the lines in a time when the Internet was a child, cell phones were a luxury, and trans-European borders were manned.