Our Daily Bread 467: Monsieur Doumani ‘Pissoúrin’

September 10, 2021

ALBUM REVIEW/Dominic Valvona

Monsieur Doumani ‘Pissoúrin’
(Glitterbeat Records)  10th September 2021

On a night flight to dimensions new, the celebrated Cyprus based trio of Monsieur Doumani plug in and amp up their signature Mediterranean sound on the nocturnal diorama Pissoúrin.

Regular readers of the blog may recall my review feature back in May on Antonis Antoniou’s solo album of rustic lyrically-themed kismet, Kkismettin. A founding member of the Doumani, Antoniou expressed the barrel-barrier dividing realties of his island home; split between Turkey and Greece. Favouring a more peaceable but exciting melting pot of both cultures, Antoniou musically and amorphously combined the two sides on that album, as he does now with this trio, now on to their fourth album. 

In an attempt to push the sound and themselves, they’ve approached this nocturnal themed album differently. The music is now electrified, augmented and played around with through various pedal effects and looping technology. In all, it promises to be a very different sounding record.

As I’ve mentioned, the concept – made obvious if you translate the title from its original Cypriot into English – scans the “total darkness” to build a cosmology of nighttime dwelling characters and atmospheres. Against an often mysteriously stirred backdrop of the moon, stars, planets and rivers, the allurement of both freedom and escapism lurks. This is a flux state “between sleep and dreams” that acts as a sanctuary for the non-conformists, the rebels, but also just anyone who wishes to break away from the normality’s of a depressing reality. Some of this was at least fueled by late night drinking and unburdened ideas discussed with the poet Marios Epaminondas, who wrote the words to the lunar, UFO hovered Baba Zula-like scuzzed ‘Kalikándjari’ song.    

Actually, Baba Zula crop up a lot as a reference point on this album. Their signature fuzzed and electric fez take on Anatolian psych and folklore can be heard permeating the Doumani’s switched-on sound; yet with the wah-wah like buzz and looping flange of the traditional Greek six or eight-stringed teardrop shaped ‘tzouras’ replacing the Baba’s signature saz. Also, they’ve managed to incorporate the trombone into this sound; played by the trio’s Demetris Yiasemides, who also joins in with the tongue-rolled harmonies and vocals. It works quite well as it turns out; with both shorter punctuated breaths and longer deep funnel suffusions that act as a sort of bass sound.

Making up that trio is the relative newcomer, Andys Skordis, who plays looping fuzzed and scuzzed-up guitar, percussion, and as with all his comrades, joins in on vocals, which fluctuate between folk traditions and what sounds like some stoic Russian or Slavic chorus on the electrically scratched and echoed ‘Poúlía’.

Finding connections with cultures, ideas outside their Cyprus home, in this nighttime realm the trio seem to follow sonic and rhythmic trails all the way to Arabia and North Africa. There’s even a strange hint of some desert-country twang on the bendy, rocking ‘Alavrostishitiótis’. Under a certain longing veil, a siren lends something ancient and particularly Greek to the dramatic, panted ‘Thámata’. In all the results are a psychedelic-Med whirlwind of nightly trips and peregrinations, and a opening up of the trio’s sound; a leap into the unknown that’s proved fruitfully electrifying and entertaining.  

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

One Response to “Our Daily Bread 467: Monsieur Doumani ‘Pissoúrin’”

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