Ilyas Ahmed dreams of a new album, awakens with it on his pillow, decides to wait until January to release it

Ilyas Ahmed dreams of a new album, awakens with it on his pillow, decides to wait until January to release it
Photo: Sarah Meadows

Basically: Ilyas Ahmed awoke from a feverish dream of drifting colors and conflicting notions to find an entire new album of solo material lying on his satin pillowcase. And this January, you’ll be able to hear that entire album via MIE Music (the world’s resident “DREAM MUSIC ONLY” record label).

Ahmed’s new, immaculately-conceived LP is called Closer To Stranger, and it was recorded straight to tape (from Ahmed’s subconscious? From his memory? From his fantasies?) in the fall of 2016 — and now it’s coming your way. The album marks the Pakistani-born musician’s first release since 2015’s I Am All your Own and will be available everywhere January 26.

Besides the hazy lullabies of Ahmed’s 6-and-12-stringed guitars, the record will feature saxophone from Golden Retriever’s Jonathan Sielaff, who astral-projected into the studio with Ahmed. According to MIE Music, “Closer To Stranger stands as a meditation on uneasy identity politics during times of unreason, seeking peace amidst chaos.” And you can seek a little peace yourself right now, via the new video for album track “PASSING LINES” down below.

So, yeah; that pretty much clinches it: this will be the first-ever album recorded directly from subconscious to tape. In our interview with Ahmed in 2012, we were told he calls his music “soul music.” We never thought he meant it like that!


Closer To Stranger tracklisting:

01. MEDITATION ON THE SPLIT SELF
02. FALSE FRONT
03. PASSING LINES
04. ZERO FOR BELOW
05. FEVER PITCH
06. CANCEL TO REVEAL
07. UNTITLED 1
08. SLEEPWALKER
09. UNTITLED 2
10. FURTHERNESS
11. TWO STEPS AWAY

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