Review: Ak’chamel – Transmissions from Boshqa

161212_ak'chamel_digital_sqAh! After several minutes sweeping the dial back and forth, I finally tune into the Ak’chamel frequency. An island sprouts from within a wasteland of dead air. The sounds I hear are a mix of isolation psychedelia and multicultural inquisition, seemingly built from the tiny trinkets of artefact that wash up on the shoreline of this tiny radiowave landmass: stringed instruments and cymbals from the East, distortion pedals and rhythms from the West, chants from ancient times, tape delays from the 20th Century. By throwing all of these elements together, Ak’chamel try to triangulate their position both geographically and spiritually, searching for the hidden ancestry that, maybe, lies encrypted amidst their instinctive intersections of culture and harmony.

Strictly speaking, none of the pieces have beginnings or ends. They arise, they prolong, they fall away. Chants are stacked precariously upon tape TX and processional hand drums; bass riffs malfunction into synth drones and incantatory wails. These configurations align into loose structures for several minutes and then dismantle themselves. Coupled with the inherent transience of the album’s shortwave radio fidelity – with each track dripped through a damaged transmission, caked in the unintentional fuzz of a broadcast overpowering its medium (synths rumbling like firelight, flutes reduced to muffled birds dancing in the fog) – Transmissions from Boshqa feels beautifully preoccupied with the fact that it exists for only moment, dancing within the jaws of dead air, happy to vanish into nothing with the very same uncertainty with which it first crackled into being.