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.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Surprise! New Neung Phak LP out this week. Limited pressing. Find it at or fine record stores.

In the pantheon of Western-tilted South East Asian tribute groups, Oakland, California's Neung Phak (pronounced: "Noong PAHK") have carved out a decade's worth of inspired and unique recordings and performance since their 2001 debut, (birthed as a spin-off from legendary Bay Area group Mono Pause). Galvanized by exposure to thousands of South East Asian cassette tapes, LPs and radio broadcasts harvested during years of travels (co-founder Mark Gergis is a key conspirator with international record label Sublime Frequencies), the 7-piece group play folk and pop sounds from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam and elsewhere, using a variety of Western and non-Western instruments. Neung Phak delivers international sounds that trade the gloss and sheen of so-called "World Music" for the energy and unpredictability you can find when you're somewhere else. After two releases on Abduction and several performances and tours, Neung Phak have returned with their second full-length studio LP. 2 showcases molam-folk pop and acid-rock hauntings from Thailand's yesterday and today, Javanese dancefloor dangdut, and Cambodian instrumental dramas -- all retold in inimitable Neung Phak parlance. The stunning Indonesian pop gem, "Bang Toyib," features guest Alan Bishop (Sun City Girls) on Bahasa vocals. Thai dance-pop cuts "Poot" and "Poo Jud" feature veteran singer Diana Hayes. The damning "Fucking USA" was purportedly recorded in a North Korean studio -- and the epic retelling of the classic southern Thai-styled "Sat Chatri," closes down the LP in sprawling, psychedelic form. Limited edition one-time pressing of 500 copies with download card.