Race To The Bottom
label: mush
produced by: andre afram asmar, omid, others.
guests: israel, elian, others.
year of release: 2002
 
Journalism is no honest business. Not even reviews. Therefore this should be all about praises and hooplas and hoorays, about how good it is, groundbreaking and exciting. Not to say that all these attributes are not fitting, but they all leave out one aspects. Because some of the sounds make me cringe. As the mass media brain wash apparatus was successful and thus those Arabic sounds make me think of intolerant fanatics, that bite on a knife between their teeth, and tolerance is to them as foreign a concept as is barbecuing a pig. So yes, I'm ignorant, especially in the face of this effort to combine the sounds of all areas, the music of all continents. This is exactly the soundtrack to a movement that does not know radicalism. This included all the different ideas and artists with open arms, and it's given to us with a respectful bow. This is 'world made mozombeat' as the obligatory Mush line says.
What takes us to the label that releases this album: Mush. Good people extraordinary. With their ear for the special, spectacular and spacious. With the courage to release what sounds good instead of what sounds well selling. The label that has all four legs safely on the bottom, the exact place where this album races to.

tracklisting
1. robophiloso
2. camelclutch
3. traptivity
4. computermammals
5. scientism
6. stinktank
7. freefirezone
8. duniagariba
9. dubthesevenseas
10. tobealover
11. judgemtime
12. rajamalshitan
13. racetothebottom
 
Andre Afram Asmar is a creative character. And he invited more characters, that play characteristic instruments, to do an album that's charismatic, while hardly distinctive. But that only because the number of other examples to compare this music to is too small, to make the statistic be representative. What however is only a sign of somewhat realized uniqueness and groundbreaking newness that has been the subtext on the Mush banner for some time. In this case it means that there's a lot of dub in all songs (going to underwater extremes on "dubthesevenseas" and "judgemtime"), and in many cases, like "traptivity" they are combined with Arabic chanting. But there's also the stricter electronica of "computermammals" that is played next to a sample using "freefirezone". The world gets reggaeish on "scientism", while "duniagariba" is rather traditional and "racetothebottom" finally melodic. It also means that the music is built around many inviting corners that allow you to play hide and seek, and that feature enough shadows for you to blend into the color with the walls.
And the ability of this music to lose you in its spiderwebish clusters gives it a special appeal. Hence we are willing to sit down and listen to these foreign sounds, that keep us in a more anxious than relaxed state however. Maybe because the fear of the blinded extremists can never be completely shaken off. Our tolerance is disappointed by the missing signs of tolerance from their side. Not this music's side, but their side. But what is carried to us is a dish of strange stews and spices that in a way excite our tongue, but at the same time are just too much, too different at the same time, for us to dig in without hesitation. And as sad as this sounds, familiarities would keep the spoon moving faster to the mouth.
Nevertheless it does not need bravery to listen to Andre's music. That's too much of a word. It however takes a certain forgetting what you know, a deleting of your old brain hard drive, before the different and at times strange(r) letters and characters start to make sense.
review: tadah
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