The Great Sonic Wave – Tape Version

20.SV The Great Sonic Wave is now available on tape through Black Horizons

For those in Europe, tape can be directly ordered from me (7 Euros including shipping)

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In The Guadian

John Doran wrote an article about 20.SV’s latest sonic work The Great Sonic Wave in The Guardian.

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The Sound Projector:

The great sonic wave is a 27 minute endurance test of thin textures and distant voices which swoop across the stereo field muttering to themselves. The minimal sleeve notes mention vocals and voiceFX, as well as ‘sounds sculpted and recorded’ which suggests field recordings and improvised screams and shouts manipulated in the studio. Parts of this recording, with its half-remembered screams and quiet noises sound like one imagines a next-door torture chamber to sound like; at other times we are force-marched along by a guttural sounding guard, with the voices of the dead surrounding us. But I am probably making this sound too exciting: this is thoughtless music going nowhere, with no sense of purpose or identity.

Heathen Harvest:

20.SV is one of the many projects of Osman Arabi, a guitarist/noisemaker/sound designer based in Lebanon who has explored different facets of experimental/noise/industrial music and released hours upon hours of music under different names and projects (Kafan, Seeker, Shamanic Death Trance, The Ritual Inclusion of Code, Veinen, Xardas ). His works don’t necessarily fall into one category or the other as his goal appears to be to remain, creatively speaking, constantly in flux and always experimenting. Which should really be the goal of every experimental musician, right? If you find a formula that works for you and then simply repeat it endlessly, where does the “experimental” aspect of your creative process go?

The Great Sonic Wave is a single-track CD which runs a little over twenty minutes in length, and is described as ‘featuring hundreds of micro-samples of the sound of iron and steel objects being cut, banged, scraped, slices, slammed; which have then been processed, cut, split and edited in multiple ways‘ to form this piece of what is essentially what I would call, despite maybe offending many, “industrial” music. It’s industrial in the sense that it sounds like a steelworks plant destroying itself.

It’s as if the works of Robert Rutman and his Steel Cello Ensemble and Z’ev’s percussive works were to be mixed together, layered, slowed down, then at times sped up, and then converted into a single piece. It’s brilliant.

On The Great Sonic Wave Osman chose to incorporate a single “human” sound and that is simply the voice of Alan Dubin (Gnaw, Khanate, Old) which adds another layer of textures via screams, whispers, grunts, and the sound of breathing. Dubin’s vocals inevitably make me draw a comparison to the work of Sunn O))), even more so given the Khanate connection which is also a project involving Stephen O’Malley. There are muffled high-pitched screams and the slithery “gollum-like” whispers which have become a staple in a lot of Black Metal music and that I fear are now on the verge of becoming a bit too overdone if that is not already the case…

As it progresses, The Great Sonic Wave increases in density, pulse and intensity, but its all tension throughout its duration. Heavy Metal Nightmare Music, indeed.

I’m not sure how much the vocals really add to this extended piece, I could probably even do without them. Then again, not being entirely familiar with a lot of Arabi’s work maybe adding the vocals was part of this need for constant experimentation and pushing of boundaries so for that alone I cannot fault him. The vocals are powerful and effective; I just don’t feel that they are essential here. This is an interesting sonic statement and I’m really looking forward to delving into Arabi’s extensive discography and see what I discover. The Great Sonic Wave is a great starting point.

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Two New Reviews

Two new praising reviews of The Great Sonic Wave in German…

Black Magazine: 

Ein weiteres Beispiel, dass Musik und ihre jeweilige genretypische Ästhetik keine Grenzen kennt, erst recht keine solchen von Ländern… 20.SV ist eines der Projekte von Osman Arabi aus dem Libanon, der auf „The Great Sonic Wave“ ein düsteres Störfeuer aus mal schneidender, mal pulsierender Elektronik, statischen Geräuschen, Fieldrecordings(?) und geradezu unmenschlichen Schreien schichtet, immer wieder zerrissen durch wie Kurzschlüsse hereinbrechende Geräusche; dabei die ganze Zeit wie auf dem Sprung verharrend, bis nach gut der Hälfte des gut 28 minütigen one-trackers eine zerhackte white-noise-Elektronik dem Stück ganz neue Bewegung verleiht. Und die Stimme nach vorn lässt, die keinem anderen als Alan Dubin (z.B. ex-Khanate) gehört, wodurch weitere Kommentare dazu eigentlich fast überflüssig sind… Wie ein Höllentrip in einem Club, der nicht auf die Bässe setzt, um die Körper zu bewegen, sondern auf die hohen Töne, um die Schädel zu spalten. Trotzdem: eindeutig ein Hörerlebnis und genau das: gut hörbar.

OX Fanzine: 

Kunterbunt-fröhliche Albumtitel wie „Acid Vomit“, „Human Genocide“ oder „Radiative Hate“ deuten bereits an, in welche Richtung der Libanese Osman Arabi, der auch als SEEKER, SHAMANIC DEATH TRANCE, XARDAS oder KAFAN Musik macht, sich mit seinem Projekt 20.SV bewegt.

Lounge-Sounds für die Postapokalypse, wenn die Maschinen marschieren und die letzten Relikte menschlicher Zivilisation langsam verrotten. Gute Laune ist garantiert. Mit „The Great Sonic Wave“ nimmt sich Arabi altbekannter Formeln an und collagiert minutiös selektierte Feldaufnahmen von Metallkrach und Eisenknirschen zu einer sampledelischen Klangkulisse.

Es dröhnt und wummert, knirscht, kracht und explodiert schließlich. Über dem sonischen Folterschwall krächzt mit Alan Dubin ein altbekannter Untergangsprophet (siehe KHANATE, GNAW und O.L.D.) unverständliche Vocals in oszillierenden Lautstärken und Dynamiken: flüsternd, verhallt kreischend oder garstig gurgelnd.

Zusammengenommen ergibt das einen einzigen, fast halbstündigen Track als Trip durch dehumanisierte Welten, der auf- und abbrausend durch die tiefsten Tiefen der Düsternis mäandert. Genau das Richtige also, um dazu den Fünf-Uhr-Strychnin-Tee zu schlürfen und die Kälte des drohenden Endes hereinzulassen.

Gemütlichkeit in Endzeit, sozusagen. Beeindruckend.

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Review From Music Addiction

A nice “review” in Italian from Music Addiction:

Il lavoro intitolato “The Great Sonic Wave” è uscito per la Cavity a inizio anno. Il progetto20.SV, del libanese Osman Arabi, è uno di quegli esperimenti teoricamente poco avvincenti che nella pratica lasciano a bocca spalancata. Ricreare l’impatto di un disco metal e industriale campionando e alterando suoni concreti, risonanze e reazioni di vari oggetti di metallo non è questa idea tanto geniale… Ma il gioco funziona e libera effetti creativi di enorme profondità poetica.

Ambient sperimentale di ottima fattura…


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It’s been a real long time since I gave a 20.SV interview.. I guess the last one was done for Metal Maniacs back in 2007. This changed now, Mr. Jack Chuter of ATTN Magazine offered me the opportunity to talk about the sound sculpting process behind The Great Sonic Wave among other interesting things. Certainly the best 20.SV interview so far.

You can find it at the following link:

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New “Review” In Greek

From Music Paper, whatever this means: ”… sounds like strange and minimal psychedelic audio streams”.

Greek Review

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