Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
8

Jason Kao Hwang / Ayman Fanous: Zilzal

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count Views
Jason Kao Hwang / Ayman Fanous: Zilzal The music forged by Egyptian guitarist/bouzouki player Ayman Fanous and violinist/violist Jason Kao Hwang is alternately thoughtful, prickly, exasperating, mournful, and enchanting. It speaks to mysteries and histories, capturing and refracting the shared language, cross-cultural references, and mystic vibes that these two men have been cultivating and exploring together for fifteen years.

"Zilzal" is the Arabic word for "earthquake," but the music on Zilzal doesn't always rumble and rupture the ground. Peaceful prayers ("Nilometer At Roda") can lead to moments of uncertainty ("DNA: Untranslated" and "DNA: Messenger, The Message"), and storms sometimes part at the last second to let the sun sneak in ("Zilzal"). There's no shortage of cage-rattling moments but they don't overwhelm or completely define this album.

Picked peculiarities and graceful arco lines merge in wonderful ways as this duo creates a hybridized form of music that draws in as much as it gives off; logic and absurdity, peace and war, congruence and discord, and hopefulness and depravity play a part in this production. The pair isn't always able to rectify these feelings that live worlds apart, but they are able to blur the lines between them, creating something that exists in a very different space.

Several pieces herein can be grating and challenging, but they always have a payoff; "Lapwing," for example, strikes plenty of nerves but gives way to a moment of serenity at the end. It's this journey from point A to point B that makes this piece, and many of the others, so compelling.

The duo of Ayman Fanous and Jason Kao Hwang doesn't shy away from anything. It's a partnership built on mutual respect, conviction, and a yearning for truth in sound. Zilzal says that in inimitable fashion.


Track Listing: Nilometer at Roda; DNA: Untranslated; DNA: Messenger, the Message; Zilzal; Mausoleum of Beybars the Crossbowman; DNA: Binding Sights; Lapwing; Darb al-Arbaeen; Tree of the Virgin at Matariya.

Personnel: Ayman Fanous: guitar (2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8), bouzouki (1, 5, 9); Jason Kao Hwang: violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 9), viola (1, 4, 6, 8).

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Innova Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Zilzal
Zilzal
Innova Recordings
2014
buy
Burning Bridge
Burning Bridge
Innova Recordings
2013
buy
Burning Bridge
Burning Bridge
Innova Recordings
2012
buy
Crossroads Unseen
Crossroads Unseen
Euonymus Records
2011
buy
Stories Before Within
Stories Before Within
Innova Recordings
2008
buy
Local Lingo
Local Lingo
Euonymus Records
2007
buy
Albert Ayler Albert Ayler
sax, tenor
Steve Lacy Steve Lacy
sax, soprano
Henry Grimes Henry Grimes
bass, acoustic
Hamid Drake Hamid Drake
percussion
Oliver Lake Oliver Lake
saxophone
Fay Victor Fay Victor
vocalist
Billy Bang Billy Bang
violin
Fred Frith Fred Frith
guitar

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.