1. Via rupture's Mudd Up!, Sufi Plug Ins.
an interdisciplinary project dedicated to exploring non-western & poetic notions of sound in interaction with alternative interfaces...a suite of seven free audio tools for Ableton (Max for Live), including include four distinct synthesizers hardwired to North African & Arabic maqam scales with quartertone tuning built-in, a device called Devotion which lowers your computer’s volume 5 times a day during call to prayer (presets include Agnostic, Fervent, Devout), and a drone machine...as tools, Sufi Plug Ins are what you do with them.
2. On May 16, rupture did a live radio show from Cairo, with guest host Humphrey Davies, one of the preeminent translators of texts from Arabic to English (such as Elias Khoury's Gate of the Sun). The show opens with a divine track from Layla Murad, "Itmakhtari witmayli ya khayl (Strut and prance, Horses!)," from the 1949 film Ghazal al-Banat (which Davies translates as "Candy Floss").
Wayne Marshall (of the blog wayneandwax) tweeted about the show and the opening number: "when the cowbell comes in at 0:07 seconds here, it's so 'take me to the mardi gras' i jump out of my skin." Listen and jump out of your skin too. And be sure to stay tuned for the entire show.
Ghazal al-Banat, btw, is a fantastic, uproarious comedy. Someone has put the entire film up on youtube. (Sorry, no subtitles.) Check out this segment, which features an amazing number from Mohammed Abd-el Wahhab (starting at about 4:30), complete with a huge orchestra and chorus, an army of balalaikas, a division of clarinets, Abdel Wahhab on vocals and banjo...Wow. Ahhh, ya Masr.
And the song continues in this segment.