Artist
Label
MSYLMA
Dhil-un Taht Shajarat Al-Zaqum
Halcyon Veil
/
2020
Includes Instant Download
2LP (color)
29.29
HALC027
Edition of 300 copies, incl. insert, white vinyl
Incl. VAT plus shipping / Orders from outside the EU are exempt from VAT
Tracklist
1Inqirad (Rihab-U Dhakir)3:25
2Min Bab AlKamal-i w AlDawam 5:41
3Min Bab AlDaa-i w AlDawaa 5:00
4Min Bab AlTharaa-i w Allbtilaa 4:15
5Min Bab Jihad-i Alljtihad 1:55
6Hazat-u-L-Waraq 2:14
7Astaqi AlGhamam 5:23
8Li-Kul-i Murad-in Hijaa 6:26
9Dhil-un Taht Shajarat AlZaqum 4:02
10Fanaa Ghada 4:00
11Iftirad (Zad AlMusafir)2:33

A profoundly original record steeped in millennia of pre-Islamic (pagan) and Islamic theology and Arabic tradition, ‘Dhil-un Taht Shajarat Al-Zaqum’ translates into “a patch of shade under the zaqum tree” and sees Myslma convey an ancient sense of existential angst via the contemporary prism of electronic music in his singular style of emo-R&B and weightless grime expression. Although entirely sung in a form of classical Arabic that even modern day speakers may not comprehend, Msylma’s impassioned delivery and intonation conveys the gravity of the album’s themes in no uncertain terms, meaning that native and non-Arabic speakers alike will be absorbed by the album’s emotional pull.

Turning cues from a rich knowledge of pre-Islamic and Quranic poetry into a work of subversive literary fiction, Msylma charts a transition from a romanticised childhood, thru the rising self- awareness of adolescence, to problems with parents and the sardonic cynicism of adulthood, before looping back to childhood, and resolving with a burned-out, sore conclusion in an eternal here and now; effectively mulling ontological and existential themes that surely resonate with a lived human experience wherever you’re listening from.

Whether channelling a pained sort of R&B/soul spirit in the aching delivery and floating chords of opener ‘Inqirad (Rihab-U Dhakir)’, singing from the midst of a weightless grime skirmish in ‘Min Bab AlKamal-i w AlDawam’, or scaling the lofty heights of ‘Astaqi AlGhamam’, no knowledge of the lyrics’ meaning is required in order to immerse in and empathise with Myslma’s music. But if you’re the inquisitive type, we’re sure that a quick Google translate of the track titles will offer more concrete pointers to each song’s meaning and, in turn, open listeners to a world that’s familiar yet beyond their immediate conception.

This is an album that will stick in the mind long after the music stops playing, opening windows into parallel dimensions as fascinating and dramatic as the visions of Scott Walker, as haunting as Omar Souleyman’s lamenting mawwals, or futuristic as Fatima Al Qadiri.