♫♪  Tarkamt - Live at the Necropolis

Cherif El Masri, who’s from Cairo, probably considers the idea of playing the Giza Necropolis in the same way as we think of rocking the neighborhood dive bar or the classic basement punk show.


No big deal. It’s a thing on the weekends, right? We do it. We don’t think about it too much.

Or maybe El Masri, inspired by luminaries such as Yanni and The Grateful Dead, was so energized by the idea of modern technology juxtaposed with ancient history that he spun a setlist perfect for the most bitchin’-est laser light show the Sphinx has ever seen.

Or maybe he just really, really wants to play in a tomb. That’s my guess.

Live at the Necropolis (Doom Trip) wasn’t actually recorded live at the Necropolis. In fact, it wasn’t even recorded live. El Masri, a guitarist (Invisible Hands, with Alan Bishop; Nadah El Shazly’s live band), does, however, conjure long-lost spirits on his debut as Tarkamt, a dark, motorized, forbidding psychedelic/noise feast fit for the damned. He even plays all the instruments himself, like a high priest presiding — except of course when he allows Alan Bishop to flay his enemies with a ripping sax solo on “Et Sic Infinitum.” It’s a welcome guest turn.

Not content to simply ride a ritualistic wave of a post-punk séance, which he does with great success, El Masri allows the forces he’s assembling to speak with their own voices at points, such as on white noise hellscape “Churning the Ocean of Milk” or the clanging “Death Takes a Vacation,” on which an evil spirit (probably) masquerades as a text-to-speech program. These ghosts sound pretty angry, pagan entities existing to lap up the psychic residue of the living. And yes, in the thrall of Tarkamt, these spirits actually are willed into corporeal existence.

They will get in your head. They will stay there.

Tarkamt is the portal.

Thus El Masri shocks with otherworldly affect, powered not only by electricity but also by the currents of the underworld. The sacred and the profane mix, and never have the dead felt so alive. And if you allow Tarkamt to hook himself up to a necropolis near you, he may just end up playing a live show that’ll blast the gigantic stone nose right off your face.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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