Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

7. Khyam AllamiResonance/Dissonance

I knew of Khyam because he played a Capsule show with Art Of Burning Water as a drummer, and I think he went and did a degree where he taught himself to play the oud because he wanted to reconnect with his heritage. He came to play solo at Supersonic, I think it was around 2009, and then he also did a collaborative set with a band called Master Musicians Of The Bukkake in 2010, featuring Randall Dunn, who works with bands like Sunn O))).

Nawa recordings is Khyam’s record label and it’s showcasing contemporary Arabic music. He was one of our first ever guest curators in 2017, but I think him introducing us to a whole load of musicians that wouldn’t be on our radar necessarily, and his own music as well, has just been a really fruitful journey to go on with him. What was fantastic is that when he was our guest curator he was invited to apply to do a PhD at the Birmingham Conservatoire, and from that he focused on creating software that looks at music tech through a non-Western lens, so he’s really carving a space for himself. To have that relationship with Khyam and see how things have evolved for him has been a really exciting journey.

There’s something very emotive about his playing. When he’s played before at Supersonic, he’s played on the biggest stage and yet he holds everyone’s attention with this quite sparse set. It’s just one instrument, but it’s incredibly emotive.

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