Reviews of The Great Sonic Wave

ROCK-A-ROLLA MAGAZINE

Issue 47

Dubin also appears as a distant, disembodied voice on the oppressive The Great Sonic Wave, by Lebanese noise artist 20.SV. A subtle, minimal electronic summoning of an unnamed encroaching horror, this is a genuinely eerie and crushingly bleak auditory nightmare.

BLOW UP MAGAZINE

Issue 188

DIGITAL METAL

The scene of Lebanese experimental artists is getting more and more relevant in the international panorama, thanks to a 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.

Note: Original text in Italian, rough translation by Mr. Gert-Jan Prins

ATTN: MAGAZINE

The Great Sonic Wave is like a bug stuck in tar; slurping, lurching, heaving limbs upward to a viscous smack that only galvanises immobility further, gathering matter until distinction is subsumed into a syrup of microchip malfunction, broken club music and the horrifying human wretch that signifies sanity and reason ripping right down the middle. For a piece with such firm roots in rhythm and low frequency it is disarmingly unsteady, and where dance music often implants a womb of darkness and firm-footed stasis on a given space, 20.SV does the exact opposite: he hauls the carpet of stability from beneath me, collapses the comfort membrane of horizontal and vertical surfaces, and then permits all manner of electronic shard and storm debris to flood in.

There is something really nasty about the way in which it gathers matter and expands. Fragments of circuit board and freefallen screams clump together – formless to begin with, but gradually thickening into shape – before starting to writhe in a disturbing, wayward synchronicity. It’s like human motion gone wrong – jerking and stalling at all the wrong places, twitching as though the body is fighting back against the gestures imposed upon it, forced into a reluctant stagger that seems less about reaching a destination and more about indulging in an ugly form of human puppeteering. Meanwhile, Dubin’s taps into a horrible confusion of states, fluctuating constantly between chaos and control: is he the disturbed victim dragged unwillingly into demonic possession, or the very evil spirit that rises us to claim body and willpower for itself?

BAD ALCHEMY MAGAZINE

Issue 79

This music, packed in a cover with subtle relief-print, was made by Osman Arabi, a lebanese native, who could be heard as Seeker, Yardas and also 20.SV on the finnish cassette label Cthulhic Dawn Productions, or as Shamanic Death Trance on Disease Foundry Recordings. With these records one could label him likely as Dark or Ritual Ambient, as one – albeit exotic – obscure Drone-guy.

Not that the 28 minutes we have here offer something fundamentally different. However with vocal details and above all the screams of Alain Dubin, the gore voice of OLD and since years the hellish tongue of Khanate, the whole is imparted with the flair of something, one reluctantly is suspended with being alone and in the dark.

One is seduced to label this Death Ambient, if the name wasn’t already taken. On the other hand the horror is what makes this especially appealing; the thrill by means of impressions of diabolic, pain, despair and anger until the final burst.

Where could one find more pain and agony than in the area, that Arabi, instead of calling it home, would rather erase with an atom bomb? If the music is twitching and Dubin is screaming himself to rage, a Black Metal fever is taking over oneself, that is hard to resist. The blackness of the music becomes a fathomless mirror, that one – being an infernal narciss – is almost unable to detach oneself of. “REPENT”, Dubin is howling. But despair and enragement are beyound good and bad. After all, what use does remorse have, ass-deep in FIRE?

Note: Original text in German, translated to English by Richard Eigner. 

CHAIN D.L.K

 Can you imagine the possible noises which could rise from mauled innards of a braggart former fakir after he ingested hundreds a heap of rusty nails and a couple of ales? Can you envisage the speech and the shouts of a tormented Gollum who got crucified after he innocently pissed on Harry Potter’s spell books? If you can, it could be a good starting point in order to render what you’re going to listen over this 30-minutes lasting visionary and menacingly sinister suite by Lebanese guitarist and sound sculptor Osman “20.SV” Arabi, whose disquieting ambience got remarkably enhanced by talented American singer Alan Dubin, whose distinctive vocals, which sound like recorded while being on pain of death, became quite famous while he used to bring his voice to former doom metal band Khanate. Arabi’s drilling electronic and metallic noises got mirrored by fitting Dubin’s devastated and somehow haunting vocal dramatization, which after so much overflowing evoked atrocity cannot but murmur a word in conclusion: revenge…

ROCKERILLA MAGAZINE

Issue 402

It is already 10 years that the Libanese 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

DE:BUG (Second Review)

 Über einen Zeitraum von fünf Jahren hat 20.SV a.k.a. Osman Arabi im libanesischen Tripoli und El Mina Stahl- und Eisenobjekte zu digitalem Staub und Kiesel zermahlen, zu glitzerndem Sand und fließendem Beton, bis auch der letzte Farbeinschlag Neubauten oder wieder aktuell auch Arovane aus ihnen entwichen ist und nur noch sonnengebleichtes, krisselndes Grau den Doom-Topf füllt. Das Ganze auf mittlerer Flamme eine halbe Stunde aufgekocht, bis es in der Küche stürmt: davon könnte im Raster-Noton-Viertel jeder satt werden. Aber dann: Auftritt Gast-Koch Alan Dubin aus New York, eben noch am Herd mit Äänipää (also O’Malley und Vainio), der auf Arabis Höllenbrettchen noch lebendig auf Bissgröße geschnippeltes “Repent!”-Gekrächze erster Güteklasse dazugibt. Die Folge? Man wird davon besoffen und isst so lange weiter, bis man platzt. Raffiniert! Der exzellente Laden, der uns das Meisterstück an den Tisch liefert, hatte übrigens drei Jahre zu und gehört Gert-Jan Prins. Was macht der eigentlich?

DE:BUG

Früheren Veröffentlichungen von Osman Arabi sagt man nach, dass nie etwas trostloseres und derart kakophonisch apokalyptisches auf Tonträger gebannt wurde. Das versucht er mit seinem neuen Album auch gar nicht erst zu toppen, die Tracks bestechen vielmehr durch eine hintergründige Unbehaglichkeit. Das Soundmaterial besteht aus metallischen Sounds, die gern an Klingen scharfe Gegenstände denken lassen. Dazu kommt noch die Stimme von Alan Dubin, der bereits Apokalypsenerfahrung mit Projekten wie Old, Gnaw und Khanate gesammelt hat. Ein klanglich sehr interessantes und atmosphärisch subtil unangenehmes Album.

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.

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.

Obskure Magazine

February Issue, 2014 

20SV_Obskure_Jan14

 

Sonic Seducer Magazine

February Issue, 2014

20SV_SonicSeducer_Mar14

 

Rifraf Magazine

March Issue, 2014

Rifraf Mag

 

Music Paper

Greek Review

 

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 poi questa idea tanto geniale… Ma il gioco funziona e libera effetti creativi di enorme profondità poetica.

Ambient sperimentale di ottima fattura…

MONSIEUR DELIRE

20.SV is a sound art project by Osman Arabi. And The Great Sonic Wave is a single 28-minute piece made of microsamples of metal objects, plus a track of vocals by Alan Dubin (of Khanate and Gnaw). A failed experiment in my book: I like the electroacoustic assembly work, but Dubin’s screams (and unimaginative effects) completely turn me off.

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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