20 February 2011

Ilyas Ahmed - between two skies (2005)

Ilyas Ahmed is an American musician born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1974, but who spent most of his life in various areas of the USA, from New Jersey to Minnesota, Vermont, Maine, Seattle and lately established in Portland, Oregon.

This is is first self-released album, now followed by several ones, all of these now amalgamated to the tentacular New Weird America scene of the 00's where he slowly became an icon, not unlike others artists as Grouper or Six Organs of Admittance, with whom he share at times certain exigencies and stylistic choices.

There are two other names I would like to add and which are inspired by the atmosphere of this album, it would be Richard Youngs and Loren Mazzacane Connors. I could also add the Supreme Dicks as another comparison, but only if they would have been unpluggled and got out of the use of drugs.

Ilyas Ahmed mostly build his melancholic and introvert compositions around his guitar playing (mostly acoustic but electric too) and wordless vocals, often close to lamentations, for an intimately haunted result.

Released at first as two editions of 50 copies and re-released in 2008 with his second album "Towards the night" on Digitalis, and again in 2010 on Immune, it is a much more warm, sensitive and delicate  record than what it could seem at first, the spectrum is minimal but the depth and nuances are impressive. The sound quality is somewhat lo-fi but the achievement is a world of subdued subtlety, like communicating with something bigger than itself. There is a deep feeling of isolation and loneliness through this record, the bitterness, the harshness of the natural environment around us.


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