Consumer Guide Album
Mukdad Rothenberg Lankow: In the Wake of Memories [Clermont Music, 2020]
When the second sentence of the one-sheet reads "After the fourth time he was tortured Wassim Mukdad realized he had to leave Syria," one does read on. But I'd only dug out the bio because I'd already been surprised to find myself replaying this quiet hour of oud-clarinet-percussion and then replaying it again. Combat-zone doctor Wassim Mukdad and combat-zone nurse Volker Lankow met American scholar David Rothenberg in Berlin, where he was studying musicians who'd set themselves to accompanying the birds in a municipal park. It was Rothenberg who got the three of them into the studio where these 11 tracks were improvised. Mukdad usually takes the nominal lead; Rothenberg gets equal time, often on bass clarinet; Lankow articulates a calm, changeable groove on frame drum, tabla, etc. No, they don't sound anything like birds. They sound like human beings with more reasons to value peace than most of us.