#006: Abo Sahar (أبو سهر) • Lucas the Spider • Brian Wiles

Welcome to the sixth edition of Ephemerata, a weekly-ish digest of links, ideas, learnings, and sounds that I think are worth sharing.

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I’m doing this to stimulate discussion around what I find interesting and also to share things before they disappear into the void of my journal.

Special thanks to Brian and Elisa for being the first contributors to my Open Collective last week :slight_smile:.

ABO SAHAR (أبو سهر) (via Amr Yakan)

This musician and producer from Egypt has a vibe that I would describe as ‘badass mofo’. His music touches various genres including disco, trance, hip-hop, while referencing elements of traditional Arab music.

In a feature video by El Fasla he describes growing up in a rural area where there were no instruments and figuring out how to make sound out of anything, like blades of grass. Some choice quotes from the clip:

I play at weddings and no one leaves until I unplug the cable.

I have a better night than the groom.

This is called the White House, for when tourists or foreigners are here.

Check the music playlist at the end for various tracks of his that I enjoyed.


TECHNOLOGY

A popular browser extension maker documents various proposals to sell user data in secret. There are probably others… How many accept? (via @boris)


I learned that Music for Robots from last week was designed for and performed on actual robots. For anyone curious there are more explanations and a paper on robotic drumming. (via @nonmateria@merveilles.town)


:heart:

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LANGUAGE

Brian Wiles is an actor from New York City who speaks excellent Egyptian Arabic and made videos explaining American culture to the Arab world and comparing Arabic with Mandarin.


Observe the beauty and poetry in these Persian forms of address

When a Persian speaker turns their back they say “I’m sorry my back faces you.”
The other person replies: “A flower has no front or back.”
Then the first person might say: “A songbird sits behind a flower.”

Reminds me of how Arabic speakers say ‘good morning’ by wishing you a “Morning of light”, to which the other person can reply by wishing “Morning of flowers”.


Apple has featured a collection of apps for learning various indigenous languages.


LAUGH

This animated series about a four-eyed musical spider is one of the cutest, most entertaining things I’ve ever seen. Short minute-long episodes that humans of any age would love. Impossible to stop watching, but the playlist is finite. (via Dani)


Eric Floberg’s minute-long Every Youtuber in 2021 has a beautifully meticulous build up to the punchline.


A thread of Sir Patrick Stewart as vacuum cleaners.


MUSIC

All the following items can be accessed as a one-click playlist via Joybox without accounts or sign up—just open and play.

Playlist

Three tracks by Abo Sahar (أبو سهر):

  • Trobby Asly from 2020 (2020) featuring so-called ‘trobby music’, not sure if this is a reference to trap music, but it’s gritty, noisy, hypnotic—may give you stank face.
  • Mizmar Abosahar with the piercing ornamented tones of a traditional music instrument that appears in some Greek music (similar to a duduk), although I think it’s synthesized here.
  • Moulid Kholkhal (مولد خلخال) with Arabic microtonal melodies, electronic effects, shaabi rhythms.

Ana Vidović plays an hour-long concert of classical guitar with works by Bach, Brouwer, Scarlatti, Albeniz.


meu amigo tigre’s treta (2020) is self-described ‘drama rock’ in Portuguese. Feels inspired by Frank Zappa sometimes. I like the diversity of complex textures on this album. There’s also birds!


Jacob Collier delves into music nerdery, showing how it’s possible to harmonize any note with every chord or how a diminished chord lets you modulate to anywhere.


Tolgahan Çoğulu modified a classical guitar to play microtones and demonstrates with an excerpt of a Turkish melody.


I always love receiving music. Send me recommendations anytime, anywhere!


That’s all folks!

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