Tom Calvert, the London producer best known for his work as Redinho and in Swet Shop Boys, recently dropped a first release under his own name entitled Zanbor. Heavily influenced by Arabic music and instrumentation, with liberal use of the zanbour hand drum from which the record takes its name, its rough and ready immediacy stems from Calvert’s committed approach. As he explains:
“I’ve tried to make this record as much a moment in time as possible, aiming to make a beat a day in December 2016 and resisting urges to edit. This was to avoid analysis paralysis, perfectionism, and give it a punk feel. I also wanted the record to sound lo-fi, as if it’s a dusty artefact found in the rubble. Much of the sounds were run through a space echo emulator and this gave it an atmosphere that felt relevant”.
Zanbor also comes with an accompanying film by Sheffield’s Abdullah Al-wali, who’s created a montage of imagery from Iraq using everything from archive television footage and mobile phone videos to work by the Associated Press photographer Susannah George.
The Bad Taste Records boss, who was born in Baghdad, told Clash that listening to Zanbor “started to make my brain itch about visuals”, and he was moved to create “a voyeuristic journey across Baghdad landscape pre-war, post-war to give insight to the humanity and culture engraved in Iraqi society”. It makes for a vivid and engrossing watch, so check it out below.
Zanbor by Tom Calvert is out now. You can buy it via Customs Music, the label Calvert runs with his Swet Shop Boys partners Heems and Riz MC.