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  The Trial of St. Orange  
  The Shalabi Effect  
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I guess that i am a pretty middle of the road kind of guy. I mean, i like a good song as much as the next person. I can appreciate the value of happy bouncey pop music. But i also enjoy deeper listening, music that pushes boundaries and explores new sonic textures.

However, well, it's possible to go to far. Some of the pop stuff Malimus listens to is too polished and sunshiney and squeaky clean for me to stomach. And some experimentalism goes off the deep endinto into gratuitous noise. I'm thinking free jazz here, or experimental electronic music. Heck, sometimes they don't even try to hide it, and simply refer to things as "noise".

I don't like noise. I like music. I like some sort of structure that i can discern, and i am willing to expend a bit more effort than the average schmoe to locate and follow such structure.

I have to expend quite a bit of effort to appreciate The Shalabi Effect. I have heard this band mentioned as a psychedelic combo, and i like psychedelic music. Yeah, Pink Floyd, SIANspheric, Spaceman 3 -- that's cool stuff. But there is a place where psychedelia and free jazz meet. That place is reservered for Captain Beefheart (which i could barely stand), and, now, The Shalabi Efect.

The Shalabi Effect do some cool things. For example, One Last Glare is built out of a beautiful guitar riff layered behind Middle Eastern percussion. It's a nice fusion, and this is my favorite tune on the disc.

The Shalabi effect also push some boundaries. There are all sorts of exotic "world music" instruments sounds. The echoey Middle Eastern drumming mentioned above, flamenco guitar on Sundog Ash, deep African sounding drums on Mr. Titz (The Revelator), and all sorts of nature sounds. Their use of rhythm is noteworthy, especially on Mr. Titz.

They also, sometimes, fail to gel into any recognizable structure, or they wander, seemingly aimlessly, into the unstructured noise territory. The most obvious example of this is on A Glow In The Dark, which is the album closer. It's about 21 minutes long, and starts off with some, well, noise. Slowly other istruments join in: percussion, some guitar i think. It becomes a decent free jazz tune, but the amorphous noise in the background becomes fundamentally disturbing after a few minutes.... And the song really fails to solidify into anything else.

In all honesty i can't take this album in one sitting, and i am pretty open-minded. A tune or two here or there is a nice change of pace, but all of them at once is draining. As i said: i have to expend too much effort to figure out what is going on. It wears me out, and i kind of get the impression that this is supposed to "meditative" music. I couldn't meditate to this -- there is too much going on to ever really focus on it. So, if that was The Shalabi Effect's intention, i would say that they failed.

Still, i can enjoy this album in small does, whereas i think that most humans (and every other Minion) would be hard pressed to listen to this album all the way through, even once.

On the other hand, there is not much else out there like this. They do some things that i have never really heard before, and it is interesting. So if you really like challenging stuff, i think you will enjoy this. If you are not so much into "pushing the envelope" then this really isn't for you.

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