After performing and releasing music for the past 20 years Omar Souleyman finally sees the release of what is technically his first proper recording. The Syrian musician's catalog reportedly runs in the triple digits, but Wenu Wenu was recorded in a studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn rather than on site at one of the thousands of weddings he’s performed over the past two decades around his home in northern Syria. The style of music he plays is dabke, folk dance music that fuels social gatherings around large parts of the Middle East. Incessant trance inducing rhythms form the foundation for intricate leads and incendiary singing. Usually played on traditional instruments, many dabke artists have recently turned towards synthesizers and drum machines for their performances. On most of his recordings Souleyman's sound is heavily overdriven and distorted. His stripped down sound and high energy has made him a favorite with audiences outside of his native Syria. As the producer behind Wenu Wenu, Four Tet seems to have taken this all into account. His touch is slight, but effective. Space is made where needed, the synth playing is allowed more room to breath, and more of the details that might typically get buried have come to the surface. The result is a slightly more polished sound that proves that dabke, and Souleyman in particular, can produce music that will move a crowd just about anywhere. Hand numbered, limited edition one time pressing of 3000. Printed inner sleeve features English translations.
- music label: Ribbon Music 2013
reviewed by Michu Meszaros 11/2013