1/  Orchid Go To Heaven                        (SG,Deutsch,Pistel,SS,Showard) 3.25
  2/  Sataya                                     (Ghahri,Kushan,Mee)            3.01
  3/  Shiraz                                     (Ghahri,Deutsch)               3.12
  4/  Between Copper Walls                       (Ghahri,Toshiro,Schlamminger)  2.01
  5/  Dawn At the Devils Tower                   (Ghahri,Laswell,Kushan,Seth)   3.22
  6/  Ahoura & Ahrtman                           (Ghahri,JT,Jaafrey,Mee)        4.28
  7/  Witnessed By the Owl                       (Ghahri,Schlamminger,Kushan)   2.15
  8/  Suspended Desires                          (Ghahri,Schlamminger,Toshiro)  2.54
  9/  Baanaa                                     (Ghahri,Kushan,Toshiro)        3.25
  10/ Penultimate Precision                      (Ghahri)                       1.04
  11/ Round the Corner                           (SG,BL,DS,Dellatacoma,Mee)     4.14
  12/ Kung Fu Anthem                             (Ghahri,Kushan,McQuinney)      3.17
  13/ Fight For Flight                           (Ghahri,Deutsch,Kushan)        4.06
  14/ Cycle In Progress                          (Ghahri,Kushan,Seth)           4.14
  15/ Annar                                      (Kushan,Lardeau)               4.06
  16/ Encircled                                  (Kushan,Lardeau)               5.40

          Recorded at Orange Music Sound, West Orange, New Jersey
          Additional Recording at Room 5 Recordings, San Francisco
          Engineered by James Dellatacoma
          Additional Engineering at Room 5: Mark Pistel
          Produced by Sassan Ghahri (aka Professor Shehab)
          Tracks 15 & 16 produced by Francois Lardeau
          Mastered by Francois Lardeau
Prof. Shehab: programming, beats, loops, effects, flute (10); Mark Deutsch: bass (1,3), sitar (1), bazantar (1,3), banjo (13); Soulsalaam: percussion (1); Grandmixer DXT: turntables (1,11); Mark Pistel: electronics (1); Alan Kushan: santur (2,4,5,7,9,12,14,15,16), voice (2,5,9,13,14,15,16); Mee: violin (2,6,11); Fumio Toshiro: bass (4,9), stand-up bass (8); Saam Schlamminger: zarb (4,7,8), daf (7,8); Bill Laswell: bass (5,11); Seth: guitar (5,14); JT: trumpet (6); Jaffrey: voice (6); James Dellatacoma: guitar (11); John McQuinney: sax (12); Francois Lardeau: electronics (15,16).

          2007 - Baboon Records (USA), BAB0006 (CD)


The second treasure chest of sparkling sounds from the Samsara Sound System, hauled from the depths of record crates and the imaginations of Professor Shehab and Alan Kushan, this time with Fumio Toshiro, who was a fully-accredited member of the band on the first release, relegated to playing bass on three tracks. The album also features double the number of guest artists invited to round out the sound, and while I personally miss the juicy fatness Eraldo Bernnochi added to three tracks on "Ritual of Carousel", I am placated by Bill Laswell attending to the bottom on two tracks.

Tales of the Red Dawn - indeed, most of the work to which the Professor puts his hand (under his own name and in configurations including Qabbalah Steppers, Scarab, Ebn E Sync and Ataxia) - stands as the definitive example of how to make so-called "electronic world music" with bite, relevance and a truly global span. While the Professor may be Iranian, he is no chauvinist, but rather a student of the world of the world of sounds who graduated the hard-knock school of Brooklynīs illbient dub scene with honours and has honed his arrangement skills to a gleaming shine - witness for instance the unexpected but perfectly inserted muted trumpet played by one "J.T." on "Ahoura & Ahrtman".

Tales opens with a Subcontinental vibe accompanied by big-city turntablism care of the grandmaster DXT and the subterranean bass of multi-instrumentalist Mark Deutsch, before tablas and sitars seamlessly segue into the rhythms and santur of Persian purview. "Baanaa", though featured almost midway through the album, is a kind of cumulative, narcotic, dervish dance, with seemingly sacral singing fading in and out of the entrancing swirl.

To mix international culinary metaphors, a smorgasbord of Oriental delights which at one moment takes on a garish technicolour Bollywood before mashing up a Chinese string section into the mix of something more contemplative, with Kushan regularly raining down glittering showers of notes. Still the scarlet thread that made the Professorīs own labels Baraka Foundation and Baboon (alongside WordSound, to whom he contributed many a track) a genre unto themselves, holds the proceedings together - the love of intricate rhythms, whether they be Arabian or drumīnībass, and deep, dubby bass.

Like the pattern of a carpet from Isfahan, it is continually revealing new things to see/hear/feel, ornate patterns woven expertly into multifacetted whole. And ever so groovy.

Sassan Gari, the Professor himself, recently left the States after twenty-seven years to return to his homeland - apparently he wants to be in the thick of things in that tumultuous nation, perched on the brink of - yes, of what? Whatever the case, Gari can only contribute something positive.

Stephen Fruitman (courtesy of the Sonomu website)