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Suns Of Arqa - All Is Not Lost, But Where Is It?


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Suns Of Arqa

All Is Not Lost, But Where Is It?

Liquid Sound Design

Tracklist:

1. Mother Tongue

2. Sadrayama

3. Erasmus Dub

4. The Fool Ascends

5. Discordant Dawn

6. The Truth Lies Therein

7. Pablo's Lament

 

Suns of Arqa (Michael Wadada) have been around for a very, very long time. Since the 1970s, in fact, and the goal of the music is a fusion between world beat, dub, electronic and just about everything in between to create sounds that are trippy, cerebral and experimental.

 

All Is Not Lost, But Where Is It? is an album title dripping with Shpongle-isms. It makes sense because in the tradition of Suns of Arqa hundreds of guest musicians have been invited in to take part in these weird compositions over the past decades. This time around the legend Raja Ram makes many a contribution (as does The Orb and Youth).

 

The result of the album, from old-schoolers like Wadada and Raja and The Orb, is very much an old-school chill and dub album. Old-school in flavor, definitely, but also a trip back to the beginnings of electronic psychedelic music where the definition of the sound was not clearly defined, where deeply interesting albums such as this were the norm and experimenting to see where something new like goa and psytrance were going were readily accepted.

 

Where is goa and psytrance going? No one knows so why not fuck with it and see where it all leads, the mindset back then seemed to be. All Is Not Lost, But Where Is It? is an album lost in time, perhaps. We know now where goa and psytrance have gone, we know now what they mean and how they are defined. In part, the album does not work because in the here and now it does not go far enough to lend any additional meanings to any established definitions.

 

That's not to say this is a bad album. It is a good one, it is sometimes wildly intriguing and I'll be the first to say that my heart is warmed every single time I hear Raja Ram's flute come through the deep and hazy dub. Sometimes these compositions work and sometimes they just do not seem to go anywhere at all, like it's just a jam session between old friends who are still in the planning stages of what these tracks will eventually sound like.

 

If All Is Not Lost, But Where Is It? were more cerebral, it would be a better album. But this may be twenty years beyond its time. It's a pleasant album, it's an interesting album but it is not a wildly fascinating album.

 

The best track here is "Pablo's Lament," a fine encore, where the musicianship comes together in a celebration of sound. It is also a track where the experimentation on the rest of the album does not make an appearance.

 

 

Suns of Arqa

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