Category Archives: Reviews

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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New “Review” In Greek

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

Greek Review

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More Reviews

There seems to be another review from De:Bug Magazine (in German)

6204243_001.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… and an interesting review from Obskure Magazine (in French)

20SV_Obskure_Jan14

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Review From Rockerilla Magazine

ROCKERILLA MAGAZINE

Issue 402

It is already 10 years that the Lebanese musician Osman Arabi is building obscure (dark) cathedrals from industrial noise, under the alias 20.SV (one of his numerous projects). The Great Sonic Wave introduces a substantial difference, next to // on the side of electronically transformed metal percussion // 20.SV usual sound wall, appears a human voice, the one of Alan Dubin, ,…..  clearly processed and filtered, nearly unrecognizable. The meeting of the industrial pulsations constructed by Arabi  and the heart-rending screams of the American friend creates a shocking short circuit.
Note: Original text in Italian, rough translation by Mr. Gert-Jan Prins.
TGSW in Rockerilla_Jan2014
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Review From Blow Up Magazine

Review of The Great Sonic Wave from Blow Up Magazine (Issue 188 – January 2014). Text written in Italian and kindly translated by Gert-Jan Prins.

It’s very interesting reading the term Digital Metal, at last!

DIGITAL METAL

The scene of Lebanese experimental artists is getting more and more relevant in the international panorama, thanks to an group of active group  improvising/electronic musicians. It is exactly  in this field where ” The Great Sonic Wave ” from project 20.SV by Osman Arabi is situated.

It’s a complex texture obtained by—- metallic objects / resonances —–of each kind, that is gradually transformed  in a vivid and pulsing mass to which at some point the visceral screaming  from Alan Dubin is superimposed.

Published at Cavity by sound artist GJ Prins , mastered by James Plotkin, the album places itself exactly between these two extremes : On one hand the conceptual research of digital materials, and on the other hand the brutal physical power of (like) the sound of Scorn, which brings the album up to most obscure pages of contemporary abstract metal.

20SV_BlowUp_Jan14

 

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