ilyas ahmed Closer to Stranger (LP, £17.50)label: MIE Recordings
This is a solo album by Pakistani-born dream-folk musician Ilyas Ahmed. Drawing on a wide range of influences, his songs incorporate classic singer-songwriter gestures alongside more experimental leanings. Recorded to tape in the studio by Justin Higgins in the fall of 2016 and finished in the spring of 2017, Ahmed’s instrumental palette includes: acoustic and electric 6 and 12-string guitars, Fender Rhodes, multiple keyboards, tanpura and percussion. Closer To Stranger stands as a meditation on uneasy identity politics during times of unreason, seeking peace amidst chaos.Jonathan Sielaff (of Thrill Jockey ambient duo Golden Retriever) cameos with guest saxophone on “Zero For Below” but otherwise the album is a solo affair, alternately feverish, tense, hazed, hypnotic and narcotic. A slowly unfolding inward journey of late night lullabies and contemplative electric drift.
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