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Cairo’s trip hop, illbient and club producer Hashem L Kelesh aka Dijit documents a decade of sprawling productions at his home studio, fuelled by the energies of his friends and collaborators.
Populated with the vocal presences of vocal spars Deedz, 7aleeb, and Lella, ‘The Room’ is a metaphoric synecdoche for Kelesh’s studio output between 2008-2019, featuring 9 tracks of lo-slung but levitating trip hop and illbient that overlaps his productions on the long sold-out ‘Hyperattention: Selected Digital Works Vol.1’ album, and augmented by a number of fiery percussive pieces and future folk works that give a wider frame of reference to his style.
While the album follows the smoke curl dynamic of his previous work, the glorious mesh of electro-chaabi breaks and Eno-esque ambient guitar licks on ‘Dreak’, and the heat-seeking street rave scenes of ‘Saga’ will no doubt disrupt your preconceptions, while his folk prayer-like ‘Loli’ reaffirms a knack for captivating downbeats. ‘Leban’ brings a chopped ’n screwed trip hop temporality, deploying laminar layers of male/female vocals that inevitably call to mind Tricky via Leila Arab, while ‘Hasheesh’ trades in red-seal levels of heads-down pressure shades away from Portishead or even Pessimist’s snapped productions.
Dijit smartly manages to keep it all just the right side of gloomy though, with the shatterproof tension between screwed vox and ascendant hyaline electronics on ‘Hamhama’, or likewise in the high-register piquancy and celestial chorales of ‘Dream of a bee’, while the upfront burst of drums in ‘Saga’ will bring heads to their feet.