Music Reviews
Mo7it Al-Mo7it

Jerusalem In My Heart Mo7it Al-Mo7it

(Constellation) Buy it from Insound Rating - 4/10

Radwan Ghazi Moumneh might be the Zelig of the Montreal music industry. Considering the fairly incestuous nature of the city’s post-rock scene it’s hardly surprising that there’d be a bit of a cross over here and there (after all, pretty much everybody’s appeared in a Godspeed side-project at some point), but the lower reaches of Moumneh’s CV are quite astonishing, not least his co-owning the influential Hotel2Tango studio, as is the fact that he’s done all this while keeping a spectacularly low profile.

But not any longer as, finally, we’re presented with a project where he’s taken the lead. Or, perhaps that’s the wrong term to use for such a self-effacingly anonymous project. Instead, Jerusalem In My Heart is an audio-visual concept, formed around a key trio of Moumneh, producer Jérémie Regnier and artist Malena Szlam Salazar, but occasionally stretching to anything up to 35 members, that stages what the press release paints as a cross between regular concerts and site-specific installations, once or twice a year.

As for how they’ve gone about the tricky business of translating a multi-media, multi-sensory experience to record. Well, they haven’t really. Other than some artwork culled from their live film projections, and various pieces of social media imagery of a questionably obtuse nature, Mo7it Al-Mo7it very much leaves the music to do the talking. 

Occasionally, as in the slightly distorted and electronica-tinged call to the prayer Koll Lil-Mali7ati Fi Al-Khimar Al-Aswadi that opens the album, or the intricate rhythmic harmonies of Dam3et El-3ein 3, it can be quite beautiful. At other times, such as the instantly, depressingly familiar and far too long for its own good Buzuk-based-workout of 3andalib Al-Furat, or the (also pretty lengthy) atonal vocal dirge of 3anzah Jarbanah, it’s merely competently-done self-indulgence. 

Despite the forward-thinking nature of the project (those unwieldy track titles reflecting the adaptation of the Arabic language to fit mobile technology), it’s hard to find anything particularly new here; the mournfully arpeggiated electronica of Yudaghdegh Al-Ra3ey Wala Al-Ghanam might be attempting to update and further enlighten a western-audience to Arabic culture, but it’s nowhere near as much a jolt to the system as (at the risk of insensitively reducing a broad range of nations and people down to an unwieldy whole) something by, say, Omar Souleyman. Ironically, given their choice of a name, this collective (at least based on the evidence provided here) has very little to offer in the way of heart.