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CD Feature/ S.Q.E.: "Wahid"

img  Tobias

His music may be exisiting in a space out of time, but these are busy days for J Greco, aka SQE. As the review on this 7’’ EP is being written, he is simultaneously releasing his second full-length album on the genre-defining Old Europe Cafe label and preparing for a European tour in conjunction with a couple of vocalists, which will see SQE function as a band once again after years of solitary confinement. “Wahid” is a document of this one-man phase as well as a two track reminder of how open the drone genre can be.

In fact, the title piece, with its percussions, its deeply sanding, scrawling and scribbling bass line and swirling meodies is no drone at all. As the title suggests, there is an oriental theme running through this piece, even though Greco has not bowed down to the usual cliches or exotic samples from a cheap CD. Instead, the track burns in the heat of the peaking sun and roams the dried-out lands like an eagle with his wings spread wide and his gaze fixed to a dusty world of orange-red intensity. Towards the end, the beat subsides and a harp sets in, leading the listener towards the evening and the introspect world of the record’s B-side. Here, “Epitaph 3” errects the otherwordly sonar ruins and intangible forms we have come to expect and love from Drone Records. Night has fallen, a grey moon lurks from behind black clouds and washes of cymbals stroke the dunes like cooling gusts of wind, caressing tiny grains of sand into motion. A bodyless string ensemble is playing a downwards-pointing chord scheme, covered by sharply-edged sounds and the machinery of darkness. Majestic and mysterious at the same time, this is the song of the desert after sunset, a hymn for an empty and vast territory. Only some occasional rustling suggests the presence of nocturnal life – and your mind starts playing tricks on you.

Greco maintains that “nothing is off limits” when it comes to composition and that elements such as rhythm, sound scapes, melodies and noise are merely there to serve the aural sculptor. “Wahid” is a testimony of this philosophy and a record, which borders world music and dark ambient, while never sounding forced. If he keeps up this level of quality, things may soon become even more hectic for SQE.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: SQE Music
Homepage: Drone Records

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