I can’t get enough of this album. Genclik Ile Elele from the Maestro Mustafa. Thirty minutes of fuzzy, funky guitars, bongos, blissed out organs and transcendent Turkish pop. I had trouble picking a track to post, but we’ll start with “Silifke”
Meticulously selected from Iraqi cassettes and LPs found in Syria, Europe and the Iraqi neighborhoods of Detroit, Michigan, this unique collection of folk and pop styles displays a wealth of outstanding music that is exclusive to Iraq and has rarely been showcased abroad.
There are many reasons why Iraqi music stands alone in the dynamic world of Arabic music: one example is the unbelievable rapid fire machine-gun rhythms fluttering atop the main tempo. This is the work of a unique nomadic hand drum called the Khishba –also known as the Zanbour (Arabic for wasp). A style prominently featured here is the infamous Iraqi CHOUBI -a driving rhythmic style that can include fiddles, double reeded instruments, percussion, bass, keyboards and oud over its signature beat.
Other styles featured are the BASTA (an urban Baghdadi style), the BEZIKH , and the pulsating HECHA . Also heard is the MAWAL - a vocal improv that sets the tone of a song, regardless of the style. Additionally there are three cuts from Ja’afar Hassan’s 1970s record, “Let’s Sing Together”. Being a folk-rock record, it’s a true anomaly for Iraq. Hassan was a mouthpiece for the Iraqi Socialist movement just a few years before Saddam Hussein. But most of the music in this collection was produced during the Saddam period– between the 1980s and 2002. Since the 2003 invasion and the wholesale disassembly of the country, classic tracks like these may already be part of a disappeared past.
Black Moth Super Rainbow is an experimental band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their music contains elements of psychedelia, folk, electronica, and pop. Their distinctive sound is characterized by analog electronic instruments including the vocoder, Rhodes piano, and Novatron. The band formed in 2002, and has existed in its current five-member lineup since 2003. Little is known about the band or its members, as they have kept themselves somewhat of an enigma. 
On March 17, 2007, the band played alongside The Octopus Project as one band at the South by Southwest music festival, playing music from their collaborative project, The House of Apples and Eyeballs.
Members prefer to go by aliases and stay away from normal press photos so the music is always the main focus. Led by Tobacco (Vox), who does most of the writing and production, the band also consists of Power Pill Fist (bass and atari), Father Hummingbird (rhodes and monosynth), The Seven Fields Of Aphelion (monosynth), and Iffernaut (drums). Not really coming from any kind of scene, Black Moth Super Rainbow is somewhat of an anomaly in their hometown of Pittsburgh; a place where most people don’t even realize BMSR is from. By developing their ideas in near-seclusion and without any local influence, they come across as something feral and without solid comparison. Imagine being able to wipe the slate clean and hearing a pop song without ever hearing a pop song before. And then replacing the types of melodies you’re accustomed to hearing from certain instruments with something different. It’s kind of like that.
Most people associate sounds like a vocoded vocal with techno and novelty, and analog synths with electro, but BMSR is coming from a different place and trying to re-contextualize these sounds. They’re categorized in the Electronic Genre, but their heads are somewhere else.
Dandelion Gum (2007) is a loosely based concept record about witches who make candy in the forest. Each of its 16 songs represent a different candy-induced freakout in the gooiest and sweetest ways possible. Songs that are built to stick in your head for hours meet textures that are impossible to scrape off your teeth. You might not even realize that the sunny melody you’re humming to yourself all day has so many hidden layers behind it – all hummable as well. It’s as accessible of a record as it is abstract, and as bright on the surface as it is moody underneath. Dandelion Gum feels as colorful and sticky as its name suggests.
Recorded over the course of 3 years, Dandelion Gum is a product of the woods. It is deeply inspired by stories passed down from relatives and ones the band created themselves after long nights in the cabin. The best of those stories, and one that we hope could be true, is of the sisters who refused to leave their shack deep within the forest. The sisters (or witches as they are lovingly referred to in local folklore) were truely scary and it is said they would concoct all kinds of sugary treats for anyone foolish or adventurous enough to wander that deep. Most likely, this is an allegory for drugs and you can come up with whatever seemingly appropriate type of operation those women were running. But the stories of the individuals who made it back home are some of the most fucked up stories around. Some are really bright, some are really sad, and some are designed to make you think about life and rainbows and death. BMSR wants you to feel that when listening to this record. And then they want you to remember it all day, and try it again tomorrow…
BMSR ’s first record, Falling Through A Field (2003) was 3 years of four-track and sampler recordings that shows how the band came from an almost folk beginning. Printed initially in a limited quantity of 500, the disc has been out of print since it first came out. A re-release on Graveface is coming.
Their sophomore record, Start A People (2004) was about re-creating the sounds of childhood public broadcast television and applying them to the Black Moth Super Rainbow formula. It’s a blissful, hazy, fuzzy record that can make you feel good whether you were a kid in 1982 or not.
Live, they are an extremely psychedelic pop band that likes to create a sometimes vastly different experience from the recordings. Echoplex freakouts and gong smashes with spinning drums are part of the repertoire now. Noise plays with melody, and old synths might help you remember why it can be fun to wiggle or jump or cry.
Black Moth Super Rainbow lives on Graveface Records, and although known as somewhat of an enigma, has come out of the forest in 2006 to play at the request of bands like Of Montreal and The Black Angels. They have released a wild full-length collaborative record with The Octopus Project and are working with such diverse artists as Dreamend, Laura Burhenn (Georgie James), and Anticon’s Passage on their future projects.
”…Like opening a bottle of soda without knowing it’s been shaken wildly.” -Foxy Digitalis (2006)
”…References the past without emulating it, and manages to look forward to the future while sounding like absolutely nothing else from the present.” -Imageyenation (2006)
“Surely something beyond much of the music created today” -Delusions of Adequacy (2006)
“This may make little sense, but you have to experience their soothing, exhilarating and mysterious, “tranquilizer meets energy drink” universe. You will be affected and that’s a guarantee.” -Music-News.com (2006)
“Sprawling and ambitious, and very much enjoyable to listen to no matter what your musical proclivity.” -Dusted (2005)
”…It’s hard to imagine that any other artists are treading ground anywhere near this. Hell, it really doesn’t matter anyways – because if anyone was, it sure as hell couldn’t be as good as this.” -Delusions of Adequacy (2004)
”…I personally think this band are a real find, and surely are due a higher profile in this country.” -BBC Collective
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