"Moumneh has had a hand in some of the most astonishing experimental music this side of the millennium. An album as defiant and visceral as it is vulnerable, Qalaq stands as an essential expression of pain, bearing witness to a manufactured apocalypse unleashed upon place and people." - The Guardian • Albums We Missed 2021
"Here traditional Arabic sounds are fused with field recordings and modern electronica. The album is a response to the dramatic events in Lebanon and as such mirrors the country’s torment; it’s coruscating, an important listen." - The Quietus
"Qalaq’s power is only amplified by its large cast. Never interested in simple catharsis, JIMH instead finds strength in unity, an essential theme to this remarkable project that Qalaq expresses on an inspiringly global scale." - Bandcamp • Album Of The Day
"Anyone who thinks electronic music is devoid of emotion needs to hear this record—it's absolutely dripping in the stuff without being in the least bit sentimental. A vicious experience you’ll want to revisit for sure." - Juno • Albums of the Week
"Opening track "Abyad Barraq", featuring New York multi-instrumentalist Greg Fox, explodes with a disorienting urgency, its shards of rhythm giving way to a wistful melody. "Tanto" is a haunting dirge that rocks back and forth in a holding pattern, cradling a mellifluous vocal line contributed by Lucrecia Dalt.” - The Wire
"An astonishing album. A record of deliberate bombast and raw emotion, quivers of weakness meeting the polar opposite of pure power. A set of death-robed electronics and spacious electroacoustic elements combine with the haunting calls of spoken and sung Arabic." - Fluid Radio
"Brave, heartfelt and hugely imaginative in equal measure." - Freq
"As global turmoil continues to rise, Jerusalem In My Heart‘s music grows even more relevant." - A Closer Listen
One of the most renowned and uncompromising entities working in 21st century avant-garde Arab-Levantine art and music, Jerusalem In My Heart presents a new album of vital and haunting electronics and electroacoustics, framed by founder and producer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh’s spoken and sung Arabic, buzuk-playing and sound design.
Qalaq is the most distilled, variegated and finely wrought Jerusalem In My Heart album to date – featuring a different guest/collaborator on every track, yet as cohesive, emotionally resonant, sonically adventurous and narratively powerful as any release in JIMH’s celebrated discography. Guests across the album's 13 tracks include Moor Mother, Tim Hecker, Lucrecia Dalt, Greg Fox, Alanis Obomsawin, Rabih Beaini and many more.
Qalaq is an Arabic word with a meaning Moumneh particularly intends as “deep worry” – on various universal levels, needless to say, but also specifically with respect to Lebanon/Beirut, its collapsing domestic politics, economy and infrastructure, its adjacent countries and its tragic geopolitics.
“The Side 2 tracks are all named ‘Qalaq’ and then numbered, representing the degree to which the layered and complex violence Lebanon and the Levant has reached in the last couple of years, from the complete and utter failure of the Lebanese sectarian state that drove the economy to a grinding halt, to its disastrous handling of the migrant influx from neighbouring failed states, to the endemic corruption that led to the August 2020 port explosion, to the latest chapter of Palestinian erasure and yet another brutally asymmetrical and disproportionate bombing campaign on Gaza.”
Moumneh calls Qalaq a sister album and “mirrored image” to Daqa’iq Tudaiq, the previous JIMH full-length released in 2017, where one album side featured a 20-minute piece in four movements by a 15-person orchestra of acoustic players following a written score and channeling Moumneh’s re-interpretation of "Ya Garat Al Wadi" by Mohammad Abdel Wahab and Ahmad Shawqi.
By contrast, Qalaq was composed with a “dismantled orchestra, across dissociated/isolated space-time”: invited musicians collaborated through distanced file-exchange on atomised pieces, working from Moumneh’s initial through-composed source materials (and emotive background discussions) with an otherwise completely open canvas.
“I composed the album as a bare skeleton, giving each artist a section to decompose, edit, re-interpret and recompose as they desired, sending me back their stems which I then mixed into my own, remoulding newfound coherence in the overarching composition.”
The resulting work contains almost double the number of tracks of any previous JIMH album but arguably flows the best of them all. Qalaq is marked by a range of artistic processes and diversity of tactics, while maintaining a fundamental sonic aesthetic and a profound synthesis of emotional and narrative power. The album artwork, with a front cover image captured by photographer Myriam Boulos during the Beirut October Revolution of 2019 and inner sleeve photographs of the Beirut port explosion aftermath by Tony Elieh, further contextualizes the specificity and lamentations of Qalaq – the deep worry at its heart.
Qalaq also (re)introduces the newest member of Jerusalem In My Heart: experimental filmmaker Erin Weisgerber, who had just embarked on her first JIMH tour in March 2020, performing six shows before the tour was abruptly suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. Weisgerber’s phenomenal short film for “Qalouli”, the duo’s first new work made for Constellation’s Corona Borealis Longform Singles Series last year, provides a glimpse of what’s to come.
Recorded and mixed at the Hotel2Tango, Montréal, QC
Mastered by Heba Kadry, NYC
Front cover photograph by Myriam Boulos. Back cover calligraphy by Kristyan Sarkis. Inner sleeve photos by Tony Elieh.
180gLP pressed at Optimal (Germany) comes in jacket & inner printed on uncoated Arktika artboard with LE-UV inks and a 9"x36" fold-out of poetry by Alexei Perry Cox.
180gLP + handmade book RE:EVOLUTION by Alexei Perry Cox printed by Gap Riot Press available exclusively via direct order (cstrecords.com / Bandcamp): quantity limited to 60.
CD comes in a mini-gatefold paperboard jacket.
Deluxe Box Set Edition of 50: Handmade clamshell compartment box containing all the above + NIGHT 3 handmade hardcover scroll book + 16mm short film (reel in canister) by JIMH filmmaker Erin Weisgerber.
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