Awakening Spirits


Berlin based, Jerusalem pioneer Roi Assayag, aka Tropikal Camel, serves up his fantastic new album, Awakening Spirits on Brussels based label Rebel Up Records, distilling 20 years of musical experience. The album title Awakening Spirits is a wordplay: in Hebrew & Arabic, winds, spirits, and ghosts are the same word: Ruaah. This title is polysemic: spirits are representing the mystic research that is eternal, winds are representing drama and conflict, ghosts are the voices from the past... the word awakening symbolizes the future. Makom in Hebrew, Maqam in Arabic, which means "place" but is also the name of the melodic system of Arabic music, theory which Roi Assayag has taught himself from YouTube tutorials, trying to deepen his connection with the melodies that opened his soul. In those quarter tones he found the drama that he is so connected to. One that is making him feel home. As Tropikal Camel he casts a spell over audiences from Europe to Africa through the Middle East by blending percussion with a psychedelic edge at places like Nuits Sonores and Nyege Nyege. It is a sound that draws on his Middle Eastern and North African heritage and heads into the future. In the artist's unique way, he fuses elements into a special blend of driven bass, deep pads, and chopped chants for a musical journey that continues on this spellbinding new offering. Deeply moving opener "Deja Groove" immediately sinks you into an enchanting world of percussive flurries and weightless beats, a ballad of longing to a lost love, was written in dark times with a glimmer of hope. "The Spirits" is a sparse and intoxicating brew of churning drums and Syrian Sufi chanting, influenced by music of Aleppo in Syria. Sufi music has a mystic quality, opening the heart and cleansing the soul. This track is in Maqam Sabah, a modus that is representing youth and the process of maturity. "Waves" is a loose and languid mix of lurching grooves, traditional percussion and edgy synth drones that trap you in a trance. The pressure then builds again with the clattering drums and hits of "Zachotronic". The excellent "Beeehave" slips into darker, almost techno leaning territory. It's about being wild, not giving a fuck, in a club in Berlin, high! "Seashells" mixes all of the above into an electrifying trip through world sounds that brings plenty of new influences to the dancefloor.