Wow. I think my ears just broke. You see, having spun this disc repeatedly my head feels like it’s been caught in the middle of a militant crossfire. Violent. Punishing. Brutal. The Purity Of The Cedars is an album by Maronite power-electronics combatant Koufar and fuck me if my head is not ringing!
Chock full of hateful blasting electronics, The Purity Of The Cedars is a caustic journey into the vengeful mind of Waddiah Rabbiah Chami, spitting venom against the current Lebanese state. The sense of anger in these 7 tracks is enough to make you want to pick up a rifle and shoot your neighbour.
Carefully selected samples set the scene further exacerbating just how much this means to Koufar. Blistering slabs of jolting noise and feedback fire off around you. At no point can you question the authenticity on display here, which in a strange way makes it even more of a joy to hear.
Whether you even understand the politics is probably irrelevant and by the sounds of it I’m sure most people would rather not know. This is immense.
Like a power-electronics car-bomb.
I’ve been procrastinating the reviewing of this album further and further for Koufar is such a musical unit that if you want to suitably convey his message while being an ordinary eastern european without exclusive knowledge about Asia, Lebanon, and religious and political happenings in the country, it is a rather difficult task. But this evening seemed good for this task. Koufar is a project, based on ideas of Maronite Christian beliefs. First thing that drew my attention when I’ve read about it, was that this album of Lebanese, who is living in USA, was released in Israeli label Topheth Propheth. Despite the usual tension between these two countries, they’ve united their forces against the common enemy in this disc. Well, you could consider these nuances for the whole page, but as for background about this release, I think it’s enough. If I’m not mistaken – this is the final release of Koufar. Unfortunately. This project truly had it’s own face and this disc is one of the most interesting albums of Koufar. Release, symbolically entitled “The Purity of the Cedars” (cedar is a symbol of Lebanon) is dedicated to a father of this noiser. Album with playing time of more than 40 minutes starts with a sample of some chant and noisy interferences in the background. A rather short, lasting for just a couple of minutes, track, brings up the view of a desert and it’s the only slightly softer and melancholic/sadder moment in the album. Everything that goes after it – concentrated lump of hate, exploding right into your ears. It’s like the first chant was a lament before Koufar is gone to war. And other songs are sounds of his personal fight for his own beliefs. For the bigger part this album is somewhat similarly sounding to new power electronics unit, where Waddiah Rabiah Chami is also pariticipating – Disgust. Hideous, cold and purified noise which is not meant for your comfortable evening listening experience. It works more as an energizing and stimulating agression record. Despite the fact that lyrics are not included, but the voice ir raised above the noise and you can clearly hear effected voice and understand the words he’s shouting. Distorted lines of sound, feedbacks, samples and voice – this disturbing and truly powerful album is made in minimalistic manner. Emotions that this record radiates are hard to generalize and describe in words, but this is the true force of power electronics. A special album, recommended for purists. I don’t know whether Chami will return to this project or not, but either way, he left his clearly seen trace in the scene. This is Lebanon. This not Disneyland. And echoing shootings…
Power electronics is transgressive by nature, appropriating themes, imagery and ideologies that other genres wouldn’t touch. Maronite Resistence Unit KOUFAR, like its ideological counterpart INSURGENT, are the works of American Lebanese Mackenzie Chami. Wheras INSURGENT adopts a radical Islamic viewpoint KOUFAR takes on the Maronite Christian view on the state of Lebanon and the anger directed at Israel is palpable with track titles such as ‘Forced Unity’ and ‘IDF Military Cooperation (A Common Enemy)’.
Sonically this is hate filled power electronics vitrolic enough to rival the rash of white power electronics that has hit the scene over the last couple of years. The vocals are high up in the mix and clearer than is usual in power electronics, whilst the judicious use of samples blends in well with the at-times ABC style electronics. By avoiding over-use of typical Middle Eastern samples the impact is more pronounced and coupled with the righteous anger that burns throughout this album makes ‘The Purity Of The Cedars’ stand out as one of the better power electronic releases this year. (8)
The Philia Review
There are a large number of current projects out their who have a prepossession with certain brands of politics. Out of the handful that come to mind right now there are only 2 modern groups I can think of who dig deeper than most. The two groups I am speaking of would be none other than Brethren and Koufar. The latter of these two phenomenal groups is the one we speak of today. Koufar does more than shout out his ideas and opinions over grating noisescapes. Instead Koufar first lets you become acclimated to this community by use of samples. The shouts of children, chanting and speeches take you out of your comfort zone, placing you within the struggling atmosphere and turmoil expressed herein. Then you must be able to digest the vocal attacks, lyrics and shrill electronics that Koufar had mastered a few albums back. These samples are almost entirely in Lebanese (correct me if I am wrong) therefore Americans like me have no chance of discerning the messages being communicated on our own. But for the most part this doesn’t matter, the language doesn’t need to tell the story because of the emotions heard in the messages, in the voices, coming out of scared mouths and commanding shouts speak all on their own without any translation needed. Musically Koufar is very proficient at what he does so it is a shame to see him putting this project on hiatus but I am sure good things will come of it, just not under the Koufar banner. Most of the tracks alternate between feedback and perishing buzzes while a few other tracks prefer bass heavy loops hidden beneath ideology and opinions.