|MH-216 Andre Afram Asmar - Racetothebottom
Andre Afram Asmar has crafted a masterwork of organic dub-influenced downtempo with over twenty guest artists and vocalists including Scientist, Elias, and Israel, from countries in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Over a year in the making, racetothebottom is an ambitious project that uses live instruments as the base for each track, and then accentuates them with samples, electronics, and computer manipulation. Rooted in non-violence, the search for common ground, and support for the world's oppressed, racetothebottom is meant to be a soundtrack to life. Asmar combines seemingly disparate styles in a single track - Middle Eastern vocals over Jamaican dub, Brazilian rhythms over Western electronics - to accentuate the harmony created, and to focus on beauty found in cultures so often viewed in a negative light.
|Fans of eclectic, globe-spanning sonics will find much to enjoy in the thirteen soothing cuts - Urb / At the forefront of both hybrid and political music - YRB / Sonically radical - XLR8R / It's not globe-hopping; it's a meltdown - New York Times / An act worthy of a Nobel Prize - Signal to Noise
|racetothebottom is truly world music - an ambitious mixture of hip-hop, electronica, and international rhythms. Los Angeles based producer Andre Afram Asmar spent more than a year working on this follow-up to his self-released Zombeats album, recording musicians from Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean, and then building tracks around their live parts. The result is a record that's haunting and evocative, summoning both stark desert landscapes and starless city nights. Asmar shows a fine touch for arrangement throughout, bringing together disparate sounds - djembe, flute, keyboard, oud, etc. - while managing to keep the music restrained. The mood for the most part is slow and pensive, but Asmar occasionally kicks things up a notch, with groove-heavy dubbed-out numbers like "scientism" and "tobealover". Asmar's compositions are elusive and diffuse, but that's what makes them so powerful. racetothebottom bristles with a restless energy that's as dissonant as the world around us. - San Francisco Weekly