Take Badawi, born Raz Mesinai in Israel and now based in New York City. By combining "live" instruments with the sound-warping techniques of the mixing board, Badawi weaves the traditional Middle Eastern melodies and rhythms he embraced in his youth into a web of Hebraic spirituality, dub, and rock. It's a scintillating, vibrant, and most important, varied sonic tapestry that is anything but an exercise in abstract "ambience."
No, the ambience here is very immediate: Doug Wieselman's warm clarinet adds relish, while Marc Ribot's taut, buzzing guitar adds cinematic edge to the undulating, hypnotic "The Circle." That's immediately followed by the stormy bluster of "Battle Cry," where Ribot lets loose a few bolts of feedback-drenched metallic lightning over galloping, relentless drumming. Think of it as a teaser for Badawi's next opus, which, judging from Clones and False Prophets, should give us something to (really) look forward to in this election year.