Andre Afram Asmar Race To The Bottom

This is a big time capital "D" dub album, with no holds barred effects swirling around from speaker to speaker. It's an album in which there is so much processing on each track that the dub treatment is integral to the original composition. The ingredients are lots of Middle Eastern dumbek loops and reeds on top of dub bass lines, with occasional batucada and nyabinghi touches and lots of vocals, sampled, sung and recited throughout. Altogether it sounds like a Levant-based head charge. Unlike one of the lesser Laswell-ian pastiches, there are tons of well executed ideas with much strategy behind them, but Race to the Bottom still doesn't sound calculated. Another point of reference would be Muslimgauze, who also deals with the themes of suffering peoples around the world, although Asmar processes the vocal contributions so much it's difficult to make out some of the points of view he's trying to express. Unlike Muslimgauze, there is less of a hip-hop feel to this disc (odd, since Mush is known for its progressive hip-hop releases), although tracks like "Computer Mammals" have some nicely processed beats. When Race To The Bottom does get down to its reggae content, it sounds great too, as in "Scientism," mixed by the legendary Scientist. (Mush)