Music for 12/23/21!!! Arooj Aftab, Tonebeds for Poetry

@@@ Arooj Aftab: Mohabbat (Verve/UMG, 2021) I’ve come across this record on many lists. I can see why from the opening section of this almost 7 minute banger. It’s a Nick Drake-y type folk thing done by a South Asian woman and she does it very well. My wife would really dig this, she loves that business. How does a person adequately describe the classic South Asian singing style — intricate and flightful? It doesn’t matter. This artist also has the good fortune to put this music out when people can stand to be calmed down. This is very good calming music without resorting to waterfall sounds and rainstorm ambient music which drives me mad. The other South Asian sound here is the merdungam (I think) hand drum which rocks a minimalist beat here. Outside of the singing the sounds are pretty standard and since I’m a slut I would love to get a more interesting arrangement but that’s just me.

@@@ Tonebeds for Poetry: The Devil’s Nag (From Here Records, 2021) Also slightly in the folk category this lands in the odder part of town. Autotuned vocals, chattering drums mixed very dryly and a stringy banjo/guitar tone in the opener. They set out on a vibe and just keep riding it. I like how you wouldn’t expect the processed vocal with these sounds — I like unexpected sounds. The second tune drops the processing and moves more directly into the space rock part of town but completely without macho. I don’t often say this but I’m surprised I dig this. It presents rock feels mostly but the presentation is pretty creative to my ears. Well now I’m full of shit as the third tune comes through mostly cloudy ambient music, it was a palette cleanser, somewhat as the next couple of tunes spread out, take away the drums and put some spoken word business in there. Like it a whole bunch without losing my nut over it.

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