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Album Review

Ahmed, Ilyas – “Vertigo of Dawn, The ” – [Time-Lag]

Thurston Hunger   7/8/2008   A Library, CD

Auspicious beginning on this release…a mourning clarinet-
like sound over dry rolling drums, whistling flock of
ocarinas, and some forlorn shepherd’s horn. That sets up
a galloping acoustic number towards Evermore, steel chord
sweeps of dust under intricate nylon arpeggia alegria.
“Behind our Eyes” is next, with its spun backwards guitar
over an acoustic mantra. Call this freak folk if you will,
it is on Time Lag, and while not their most sterling release
well within the groove of their ouevre. Ilyas Ahmed is a
guy who evidently has moved around a lot, from Pakistan
to New Jersey to a farm in Minnesota to Portland, Oregon.
His songs, at least on this release, tend to stay put.
Find a bowl, and let the smoke waft around inside it if
you will. So you get the pattern, and then improvisations
are woven into it…which he does well by varying the
instruments he chooses from track to track. That is highly
commendable. Ahmed’s singing is an aquired taste which has
not bitten me yet to be honest, too soothing to be a wail,
too nasally wavering to be soothing. It’s all smooshy,
which may fit with the late night delerium of album and
song titles. I’ve not heard Ahmed’s other CDR work in
addition to this, I would like to…there is definite
promise and spark here, it’s just that this is a field
that has bloomed a lot as of late. Maybe if he grafted
in more segmented branches to his compositions, that
would help…but it might shatter the drony harmonium
harmony others value most about this.

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