SUBORNO: The Instrument (Suborno)


Posted on Dec 15th 2011 01:45 am

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Suborno: The Instrument

The Instrument
Suborno 2011
09 Tracks. 30mins15secs

Suborno is Portuguese for ‘bribes’ or ‘bribery’. Suborno is also Asheq Akhtar, a south-London-based musician, blogger, writer and budding actor who has spent much of his formative years playing with numerous formations in pubs and clubs the length and breadth of Britain in the hope of making a living out of music. Things didn’t quite turned out as he hoped, but, earlier this year, he picked up his guitars for the first time in a couple of years and began improvising, capturing his wanderings as they happened. Recorded at home using two guitars, general household items and a computer, The Instrument is the result, currently a self-released digital album with a vinyl edition scheduled for February.

Articulated around nine short pieces, The Instrument is a quietly cinematic record, filled with understated peaks and fertile silences, its compositions appearing either beautifully delicate and atmospheric, hypnotic and minimal or fragmented and hectic, caught between experimental folk and urban blues, with occasional oriental touches. The album opens with the rather haunting Failure Magnifies, on which Akhtar slowly develops a nuanced theme, trapped in reverbs as the echo of his guitars continually bounce against each other and fill the space with dying memories. Although cleaner and more stripped down, Flights later on has a similar emotional pull, its swirls of acoustic guitars, tainted with odd noises and textures in its second half, sounding as if they were devised to accompany a movie scene. The spell is rapidly broken though with the much more angular The Star With Only One String, on which Akhtar adds a sitar to his palette and restricts himself on the guitar, adding playful percussive elements (plastic buckets perhaps?) in the background.

With An Uncertain Evisceration Of Nothing or DRRMBSL, Akhtar ops for denser and more abrupt compositions, hinting at flamenco, albeit without the dramatic slant, on the former, each piece contrasting quite drastically with its more subtle and intimate neighbours, whilst the beautiful Fa(r)ther evokes the wide open spaces and infinite skies of the American mid-west, as if Akhtar was for a moment determined to escape the equally vast urban sprawl of his surroundings, before jumping right back into it, feet first and with determination on the closing Division/Separation. Whilst the guitar motif he deploys here is wonderfully pastoral, it is heavily subjected to delays and effects and processed into a hypnotic downward spiral, as if gravity was irremediably sucking it from the surface of the Earth.

Despite clocking at just half an hour, The Instrument proves a rather varied journey, on which Asheq Akhtar takes on a different angle for each new track, while retaining a constant thread throughout. With his attention so firmly focused on the guitar as main component, Akhtar still manages to favour content over form, ensuring that his narrative remains sharp throughout.



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