Sub Rosa, 2023 Hailing from the Agouza district of Cairo, Egypt, this brilliant trio consists of Alan Bishop (acoustic bass, vocals, alto sax), Maurice Louca (keyboards, drum machine), and Sam Shalabi (electric guitar). Born in 2012 when the three were living in the same apartment building in Cairo’s Agouza district, the trio’s instrumental improvisation-based explorations are propelled by Louca’s North African percussion loops and shimmering keys, Shalabi’s West African tinged free jazz guitar and grounded by Bishop’s driving Krautrock-style acoustic bass. High Tide in the Lowlands was recorded in Brussels at Les Ateliers Claus on September 5, 2017 and is quite an intense experience. Most performances and recording sessions are improvised and this set is no different and even though the group opened the show with “Baka of the Future” from their first album Bes, it is almost unrecognizable and everything the trio plays is continually morphing into the next unknown idea. As the sound, energy, and instantaneous composition flows, the trance is growing and growing, ranging from raw shapeshifting “no (un)wave”, free jazz, traditional Arabic, and modern experimental explorations to a concrete mystic trip from a universe expanding and contracting constantly. This is earth interrogating the sky, the sky rejoining the earth, an unknown and unwritten cosmogony.
Maurice Louca is an Egyptian musician and composer born in Cairo where he lives and works. As well as being the co-founder of the bands Bikya, Alif, and Lekhfa, Louca lends his sound to numerous other projects, composing for theatre, film, dance and contemporary art. Previous releases on Sub Rosa: Elephantine (SR 474LP), Saet El-Hazz (SR 519LP). Alan Bishop is a founding member of Phoenix/Seattle avant-garde trio Sun City Girls, who, for 27 years, explored the outer reaches of improvisation and composition (from free jazz/post rock psychedelic, and sound collage to outernational Arabic and Asian inspired folk music). As founder of the Sublime Frequencies record label, Bishop has released over 100 records, introducing previously ignored musical genres from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Sam Shalabi is a prolific Egyptian-Canadian composer and improviser living between Montreal, Quebec and Cairo, Egypt. As the founder of Land of Kush, Shalabi Effect, and many other projects, he began with punk rock in the late ’70s and his work has evolved into a fusion of experimental music that incorporates modern/traditional Arabic, shaabi, noise, and classical music with spoken word, free improvisation and jazz.