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 /

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."  

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.