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Soldier of Midian

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Album Review

Percussionist, turntablist, composer, and DJ Raz Masinai has been moving in and out of New York's underground dub scene for years as a member of the influential duo Sub Dub, as a founding member of the turntablist collective Rotor, and as a solo artist. As a soloist he records mainly under the name Badawi, and his third ROIR release under that moniker is yet another significant departure from past directions. Soldier of Midian finds him moving away from reggae or hip-hop-inspired beats and dipping into a Middle-Eastern groove; trance-inducing, multi-layered percussion shimmers and percolates around keening reed instruments, dulcimer, and the occasional electric bass, and vocals are mainly limited to wordless ululations. While the elements involved are kaleidoscopic, their density makes the tracks somewhat samey; put too many colors and textures on a canvas and it all starts looking like grey eventually. But the music is genuinely involving, and it's possible to identify a couple of standout tracks, including the dulcimer-driven "The Scorpion and the Serpent (Prepare for Battle)" and the eerie but lovely album-closer "The Storm." This is not party music, and it wouldn't even be exactly accurate to call it "fun," but it is certainly both intelligent and rewarding.


Born: 1973 in Jerusalem, Israel

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Badawi was born Raz Mesinai in 1973 in Jerusalem. By spending a lot of time with Bedouins in the Sinai desert as a youngster, he picked up on their unique musical style. When he reached the age of seven, he was taken under the wing of dervish sheik Murshid Hassan (of the Palestinian refugee camp of Balata), who taught the youngster all about exotic Middle Eastern drumming. Soon he had mastered such percussive instruments as the bendir, zarb, and darbukka. He also discovered spirituality along the...
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Soldier of Midian, Badawi
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