Pink Abyss

Shalabi Effect is an improvisational quartet mixing, among other musical elements, psychedelia and Middle Eastern and Indian themes. Focusing on spontaneity and interplay between players, creating fresh, and exciting music that has consistantly broken barriers. Like many of the other bands, artists and collectives that have been rising in my musical consumption, Shalabi Effect is part of the web of artists in the Toronto and Montreal scenes, with member Anthony Seck as part of Valley of the Giants and guest musicians Sophie Trudeau (A Silver Mt. Zion, Godspeed You! Black Emperor), Deidre Smith (Strawberry, The Squarewaves) and Charles Spearin (Broken Social Scene, Do Make Say Think) appearing on S.E. releases being some of the more prominent connections.
I’ve had a lot of love for the previous albums Shalabi Effect have released, so I was quite pleased to be able to bring home their newest offering, Pink Abyss, this afternoon. The title suggests sexual themes (as does the eighth track, “Deep Throat”) and the music does not disappoint, supplying what they call their “pop record”, a far more melodic and sexy collection of works than both previous albums, The Trial of St-Orange and Shalabi Effect. It’s a departure with familiar trappings.
“Message From The Pink Abyss” begins the album with an electronic and ambient mix that stays closest to the older S.E. It’s followed by “Bright Guilty World,” a cool and flowing jazz-like song with the nonchalantly enchanting voice of Elizabeth Anka Vajagic. “Shivapria” is a gentle and beautiful short piece that seems much like the score to a nature film. “Blue Sunshine” is the track most approaching traditional pop style, and shares the feel of several songs from Broken Social Scene songs. “Iron and Blood” is an awkward-beautiful track that brings up the urge to dance and echoes Valley of the Giants. “Imps” is a standout track, with rising motions that had me swaying and filled with added enthusiasm and an energy that rivals the best of Celtic reels. “We’ll Never Make It Out Alive” provides a sweeping musical landscape unmatched in its visual-inducing journey. The disc closes with “Kinder Surprise” (named after a chocolate egg and toy combo that is central to my childhood candy nostalgia), a track that is as exciting and joyous as its namesake ever was, filled with laughter and bright sound.
If you’re not an adventurous sort, and like to stick to convention, this album may not be for you. However, if you treasure diversity and truly love music, then you may find Pink Abyss fits you perfectly. It’s an exceptional album in all respects and already one of my favourites of this year.

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