Selected between the 12 best jazz & Improv albums of 2005 by Wire magazine.
Each member of the trio has pared away all obvious instrumental attributes, resulting in sound sources effectively geared to realise a shared musical vision of grainy agitated textures overlaid, overlapped and intersecting. Abstracted sounds seep and trickle, punctuated with pops and staccato chatter, across two pieces that are remarkably consistent in character and quality.
Julian Cowley | The WIRE
The recording consists of two substantive improvisations recorded at the Bustros residence in Beirut. What's most impressive about it is the way the very distinct musical personalities combine to create an atmosphere rich with tension. Sharif Sehnaoui's grainy string and pickup manipulations merge wonderfully with Zach's massive textural shapes to form a lush quilt on which the horns can stitch arch patterns. The altoist impressively displays her control of altissimo playing, emerging as a really distinctive voice in this generally low, earthen, organic music (Zach's rubbed tom heads are always delightful to listen to). She gets into a marvelous space with an especially flatulent Kerbaj midway through the first piece, as guitarist Sehnaoui angers an insect hive and Zach dives into subsonar depths. The second piece is still scrapey, slithering, and mostly non-idiomatic, but there is some movement that - relative to the rest of the stuff - can be heard as more idiomatically rhythmic or harmonic. For the most part, however, this is music of long droning passages pregnant with detail and glowing with an intensity that is never given vent. This tension, as if watching clouds gather, makes for some truly fine listening. These records will be difficult to find but are worth the search.
Jason Bivins - dustedmagazine.com
Using only acoustic instruments, the four members of Rouba3i5 create two multi-faceted improvisations that, perhaps unsurprisingly, aren’t reminiscent of any Middle Eastern sounds. Most impressive is the shorter—well less than 17 minutes—track, “Bustros Session 2”, which, recorded with no cuts and no overdubbing, shows that the four have relaxed into rapprochement. Launched by a punch from Zach’s bass drum, followed by percussive rumbles and accents, the piece modulates into squeaks from the trumpet and tongue-slaps from the alto saxophone. S. Sehnaoui then elaborates these statements with buzzing feints and what sounds like a drum stick hitting the front of his strings. Splayed strums then characterize his output as C. Sehnaoui expels cavernous blows and the drummer counters with woodpecker-like battering. When Zach transforms those smacks into road drill pressure, the alto squeals as the guitar advances the sort of metallic drones that could emanate from exposed telephone wires. Eventually these pulsations blend into one another, reaching a climax of irregular pitches, sharp oscillations, and constricted cries, as Zach delineates an ending with his finger tips rubbing the drum tops. Earlier, the almost-23-minute first selection is weakened by hushed passages that appear to lose volume due to lack of direction rather than as a stratagem. Luckily this happens infrequently, but some of the output could be a rehearsal for the finer points made in the second track. Oddly enough, C. Sehnaoui seems bolder here, with a catalogue of gestures that take in grace note expansion plus reed-pops and tongue-slaps. Mixing parakeet-like chirping with altissimo shrills, her sonic space is often invaded by amplifier drones and whammy bar distortions from the guitarist, abrasive scraping and woodpecker patterns from the drummer, and bubbling tones and bumpy spetrofluctuation from trumpeter Kerbaj.
Ken Waxman | One Final Note
A truly engrossing release, revealing sincere communion among four level-headed artists.
Massimo Ricci | touching extreme
The highly experimental approach of the host trio encourages a sonic exploration along the parameters of noise typology. All manner of sources, objects and techniques are used towards the creation of a sound collage. In other instances, more textural, fricative threads are woven into agglutinating tapestries of deeper color and density
Pedro Lopez | modisti.com
They make no references to traditional Middle Eastern music; in fact, the players are so inclined towards extended technique that it's hard to tell who is making which sounds. And somewhat beside the point -- this is collective music, concerned with texture and impact, not individual instrumental statements. My favorite moment comes about halfway through the second of two tracks, when they break through an episode of "sounds-like" playing -- if you walked in on the cd unawares, you might think you were hearing a field recording off urban warfare -- and into a gorgeously layered array of sustained sounds, each as colorful as rays of light glancing off polluted air just before the sun goes down. Harshness and beauty, inextricably interwoven -- you can't ask for more.
Bill Meyer | Signal To Noise