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Sub Rosa

LOUCA, MAURICE - Elephantine

"On Elephantine, Maurice Louca's new album released exclusively on Sub Rosa on vinyl LP, the Cairo-based musician guides a 12-piece ensemble through a 38-minute masterwork that might best be described as panoramic. Elements of free improvisation, Sun Ra's cosmic jazz, gorgeous Arabic melody, trancelike African and Yemeni music, and minimalism meet in his wholly unique compositional vision. Louca has in recent years garnered a global reputation through two previous solo albums and an expanding, evolving lineup of genre-defying collaborations. The Wire called his 2014 sophomore solo effort, Benhayyi Al-Baghbaghan (Salute the Parrot) (NAWA 002CD/LP/X-LP, 2014), "remarkable music-dense, driven and splashed with colour." In 2017, Lekhfa (MST 003CD/MST 4001LP), the debut by the trio of Louca and vocalists Maryam Saleh and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, was praised as an "edgy triumph" by the Guardian. For Louca, 36, Elephantine serves as both the pinnacle of his wide-ranging experience and a bold next step in his development as a composer, arranger, and bandleader. "There was a blessed thing about the process of making this record," Louca says of the sessions, held in Stockholm. "The dynamic between us musically but also as people . . . What these musicians delivered was really more than I could ask for, Everyone played their hearts out on this record." The music-from its pensive lulls through its stretches of hard-grooving hypnosis and moments of avant-jazz catharsis-testifies to that rapport. Best absorbed as a continuous performance, Elephantine's six individually named tracks nonetheless present striking self-contained landscapes. "The Leper" entrances through a deft use of repetition that Louca gleaned from cosmic jazz, African and Yemeni music, and other transcendental modal traditions. "Laika" manages to evoke the minimalists, though on the combustible terms of '60s and '70s free jazz; "One More for the Gutter", on which Louca ingeniously pits one half of his ensemble against the other, albeit in a synergistic way, mines similarly fiery terrain. "The Palm of a Ghost" distills the band to a Cairo-rooted core, featuring stirring spontaneous melodies from oud player Natik Awayez, violinist Ayman Asfour, and vocalist Nadah El Shazly. The album's title track follows, and it too blurs the border between composition and improvisation with gorgeously atmospheric results. "Al Khawaga", with its colossal ensemble riffs, beautifully dirty swing, and impassioned blowing, is an ideal finale. RIYL: Sun City Girls, '70s Miles Davis, Don Cherry, Alice Coltrane, Tortoise. Cover art by Egyptian visual artist Maha Maamoun." - Sub Rosa.
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After nearly a decade of false starts, multiple game plans veering off the rails, and a handful of shattered hopes and/or dreams, the odyssey is finally complete—the new Fusetron site is here.

This is the first phase of a multipart rollout that will span the next few months: the currently browsable stock includes miscellaneous new releases from the past 8+ months (we have a lot of catching up to do), plus approximately a third of our backstock. Note that we’ve reduced/slashed prices on many titles and will continue to do so in order to make room for new stock. We’ll also be expanding / tweaking / improving / debugging the site itself (for example, we still have work to do on the automated international postage system, not to mention the inevitable inventory discrepancies that come with transferring an ancient and massive database to a new system).

Over the next few months, as we take inventory, clean house, and delve into our storage, we will be uploading thousands of additional items, gradually, on a near-daily basis. This will include the majority of the LPs, as well as many titles, in all formats, once thought long-gone. Many currently “sold out” items are likely to resurface.

Finally, once our general backstock is up (probably in the next two or three months) we’ll begin making our extensive stockpile of rarities available online for the first time: tons of random out-of-print titles, "deadstock," warehouse finds, secondhand collectibles, etc., accumulated over the past few decades.

Frequent/returning customers will be getting early access to these items. Details to follow on how this will work (a priority mailing list? a 'frequent flyer'-like program?), but it will not be based on dollars spent. We want to reward those who consistently support us, especially in the discogs marketplace era (to those who show up trying to poach five copies of a one-off rarity, and nothing else, ever… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

So—we suggest you take some time to dig through the site—even we’ve been surprised by what’s been turning up, and there’s much more to come.



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