Unit of Resistance – Raz Mesinai’s Badawi

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Aside from his 15 or so albums, his award winning music scores and his work with names like John Zorn to DJ Spooky, the 10,000 advance downloads of Unit of Resistance would suggest there are a lot of people who know of Raz Mesinai and/or his pseudonym Badawi.

Yet it is safe to say no one has ever heard a collaboration between his two personas (is he the Middle Eastern dub version of MF DOOM?). The reason for this first time, high profile meeting of the mind is emotion. During the 2004 Republican convention (held in his hometown of NYC), instead of protesting, Raz “decided to experiment in a little bit of sound alchemy. Booking a studio a few blocks from the convention, he brought in some of the most powerful musicians he’s ever played with and recorded for ten hours. Focusing on their feelings of rage and hopelessness, and combining with hope, defiance and anarchy.”

The composition is what you would expect from such a recording – very chaotic with little cohesion as a whole, but many little bright spots within. Maybe that’s why the first track is called “Gates of Chaos,” which starts very abruptly and prepares you for the internal roller coaster. “Den of Drums” represents the most traditional dub-like track on the disc, which then segues into one of the most exhausting, “Out Of Breath” – where the feeling of exasperation is amplified through a clarinet solo ending with deep breaths being taken in the background. This then segues into one of the danciest, electronic beat heavy tracks – “Knife The Etherics”.

Transitions like this are common on Unit of Resistance and can be easily excused because of the conditions under which it was recorded, but while fans of Raz will appreciate the wide range displayed on Unit, I would not suggest this as an intro to his work.