The EP is a tribute to late Palestinian actor, director, filmmaker and political activist Juliano Mer Khamis, who was assasinated in front of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin that he also founded. The EP is made by Palestinian Majazz Project in collaboration with New York record label Abu Recordings and marks that eleven years has passed since Juliano Mer Khamis was assisinated on the 4th of April 2011.
First track on the EP ‘Occupation’ by Abu Tasjeelat, samples Mer Khamis as he talks about the occupation and how things can change on top of a 808 dominated trap beat with a catchy acoustic guitar melody.
The second track ‘Anarcifada’ is a punk rock balad by Mer Khamis Brothers. The track title is itself a punkish wordplay or portmanteau, on the words anarchist and intifada, and the song is indeed very anti-authoritarian in its core sound, with raw drums and distorted rock guitars doing all kinds of solos and crazy riffs. On top of this the vocalist is yelling ‘intifada’ with great reverb and also making high pitched ‘uh-uh-uh’ sounds. ‘Anarcifada’ is mixed and recorded in the most convincing punkish fashion and does not at all come off as a mere punk rip off, but as an enchanting balad possessing true emotion.
Third track ‘Fragments of Palestine’ is by Checkpoint 303 which is an Tunisian/Palestinian activist electronic sound art collective. The first 2 minutes of the track samples an interview with Juliano Mer Khamis as he talks about the Occupation, and how life in the midst of all the graveyards in Jenin, still blossoms and springs forward almost like zombies in horror movies. His voice lays upon a soft layer of atmospheric synths and electronic bleeb sounds, and after his voice fades out, heavy distorted, almost break-beatish, drums are added and the volume of the other sonic layers are raised. Throughout the whole track the voice of Juliano keeps popping in and out, every time resulting in changes in the drums and sonic landscape of the track.
Last track ‘Narcissist’ also by Abu Tasjeelat samples Juliano Mer Khamis while a trappy drum pattern lays as theatrical background along with a layer of sampled distorted strings. In the sampled interview Mer Khamis talks about his personal journey and mixed Jewish and Palestinan heritage, how he symposized more with his mother who was Jewish, but at one point realized that the Jewish state was fascist and not at all like his mother.
All in all the four-track EP is a an excellent ode to the memory and spirit of Juliano Mer Khamis, while at the same time showcasing strong Palestinian musical compositions and productions. The conceptual nature of using interview samples of Khamis throughout the whole project indeed contributes to the overall feeling of coherency that the EP possesses, which despite the genre experimenting nature of the project never seems to fail.
Listen to the EP ‘The Remaining Voice’ below.