Middle eastern sounds and structure meet a modern, progressive style in this diverse album – a stunning musical journey exhibiting great warmth and character. Instrumental compositions featuring a whole world of influences.
Favorite track: Crossing The Panj.
This album is an amazing fusion of Middle Eastern music, jazz, and (heavy) rock/post-rock. It's just incredibly dynamic, the way it can go from an incredibly heavy riff to a mere whisper. I feel The Taklamakan best exemplifies that, with some thunderous guitar playing in its first half, which then simply fades away into a desert mirage in the second half, before the finale arrives like a freight train into a busy, sand-blasted station on the edge of the dunes. It's good, is what I'm saying.
Favorite track: The Taklamakan.
Sits exactly half-way between godspeedyou!blackemperor and OM... great Eastern flavoured meditative instrumental post-rock that summons heady visions of the desert. Maybe some spiceworms as well. Great stuff.
Favorite track: Crossing The Panj.
Badakhshan succeeds in conjuring up images of dusty desert caravans beneath towering mountains. Post-rock, post-metal, and math rock influences are plentiful, and the clashes of electric and acoustic instrumentation add to the drama of the musical journey.
I kinda do love this album, but right now more for the work that went into it than anything else. In the cruel 1990s. this would have had to have been classed as "mood music" to get even near an HMV (dat da truuf, bruv) but times have moved on. Ozzies bucking the trend by using their bedrooms and garages and brains to learn new instruments and make something... Something very listenable, I can tell you that. Hang on, let me turn CiB off and actually put this on. NOMORESPACE.
Favorite track: Death In Langar.
Art As Catharsis is proud to announce the release of Hashshashin’s new album, Badakhshan - a milestone in instrumental storytelling for both the band and Australian progressive music alike.
Sitting on the border of Afghanistan, the region of Badakhshan in Tajikistan serves as both namesake and inspiration for the record. Scenes of the towering Pamir Mountains and the dust-strewn Wakhan Corridor influence the journey-driven composition of the album, as do elements of drone, ritualism and modern spiritualism.
Beyond these scenes and moods, Hashshashin draw parallels to bands and musicians such as Om, Tigran Hamasyan, Secret Chiefs 3, Dawn Of Midi and Le Trio Joubran throughout this record.
“The region is a melting pot of cultures and beliefs,“ begins guitarist/string musician Lachlan Dale. “That meeting of different influences holds in how we composed this album. We tried to throw away the approach we used on our first album, and let in new elements to our music. As points, it was deeply disillusioning. It was at times a painful process, but something new came out of the destruction.”
In many ways, Badakhshan (as a record) is a similar melting pot. Here Hashshashin draw fresh influence from Middle Eastern musical traditions while exploring progressive atmospherics and psychedelia. These new elements are fused with the band’s progressive approach to composition and penchant for trance-inducing drone.
Lachlan continues, “to expand on this and the record in general - it’s difficult as a Western atheist to talk about mysticism. When I hear classical Hindustani music, I get glimpses of religious and metaphysical ideas that are fascinating, yet represent a tradition and style that are inaccessible to me.”
“In a way, I'm trying to find my way back to some sense of spirituality in a culture that has lost both the tools to induce mystical experience, and the language to speak about it. Music is a part of that search, and an effort to communicate experiences and ideas that I haven't been able to conceptualise.”
Parallel to the journeys Badakhshan represents, the diversity of instrumentation on the record spans over new countries and novel sounds alike. During the record, Lachlan Dale accompanies 6 and 12 string guitars with the Irish bouzouki, Persian setar, Pamiri setor and Afghan rubab – thus better representing his experiences in Tajikistan with a wide array of earthen tones. Evan McGregor surpasses his drumming duties with Moroccan krabebs, harmonium and didgeridoo. Finally, Cam Macdonald wraps it all together with exceptional basswork, both driving and binding the music in tandem.
The group recorded once more with Tim Carr at One Flight Up, whose work with We Lost The Sea, SEIMS and Mere Women showcase some of the most vital acts in Sydney’s underground. Mastering was handled by Joe Lambert, who has worked with Russian Circles, Pelican, Daughter, and Animal Collective.
With an instrumental arsenal at their fingertips and a newfound mastery for crafting lush, atmospheric soundscapes, the sum of Badakhshan’s many elements is somewhat of an adventure for both old fans and new. These compositions almost command listeners into a place where trancelike rhythm and contemplative introspection are impossible to ignore.
This is Australian progressive music at its most expansive and adventurous.
released September 27, 2019
Evan McGregor: drums, percussion, Moroccan krakebs, frame drum, harmonium and didgeridoo
Lachlan R. Dale: guitars, Irish bouzouki, Persian setar, Pamiri setor and Afghan rabab
Cameron Macdonald: bass
Violin on tracks 2, 3, 5, 6 by Natalya Bing
Recorded and mixed by Tim Carr at One Flight Up
Mastered by Joe Lambert
“(Hashshashin’s) music is powerful and muscular and ranges from full on psychedelic rock-outs to fully hypnotising
Often ragged and cathartic, this is, in its own way, soul music, music that taps into a primal, tribal, part of our consciousness that we, in our too comfortable Western civilisation, rarely draw from.”
A positively stunning album, with emotional depth that reaches deep into the soul. I never saw "Bogatyri" coming. One minute, I'm listening to a pleasant bit of post-rock. A few minutes later, I'm nearly in tears. The rest of the album is every bit as good. Well done! Cedric Hendrix
Honestly, this one track is a more accurate representation of what it feels like to have anxiety, autism, and ADHD far better than anything I can really put into words. Also, it's just a really fucking good track. Dax Fugue
An unbelievable mixture of stoner and heavy psych sounds and influences, also with plenty of long jam sessions to balance out with the amazing vocals. Ever since hearing this album I have been at a loss for words for describing what makes Elder such a great band to people who don't yet know them. The production on this record is also very, very crisp ellis_boyd_redding