Emo Attack Turtle

by Az Samad

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Az Samad -- "emo attack turtle"
(self-released, 2010, CD)

Malaysian guitar wizard Az Samad, currently based in Berkeley, California, delivers a short set of solo acoustic fingerstyle improvisations. These ongoing note flurries evoke the breezy-hillside-under-moving-clouds vibe you'd get from Michael Hedges or some of Leo Kottke's more ethereal work. Az's only description is, "This is a concept album about the elusive emo attack turtle," and his track titles tell a little more. "Emo Turtle Suite" includes "These are broken smiles," a gently descending figure that flows through degrees of simplicity and complexity; "Hidden within summer's laugh," which moves from slow ostinato to hurried chords, passing through harmonics and dissonant intervals; and "A disguised giggle," featuring a rhythmic hitch on the bass strings, a percussive slap, and fast, jazzy changes with a visit to the sprung sound of guitar strings above the nut. The three movements of "Attack Turtle Suite" are half as long. "Welcome" is built around a high melodic phrase that soon develops a bass response. "Battle Prep" is the most chordal piece yet, restless and gently aggressive. "Attack Mode" builds dissonant chords on a steady bass, a suspenseful workout that could be scary on electric guitar. These two suites are followed by an "Epilogue," subtitled "Convergence (of the emo attack turtles)." Here melody emerges from a cluster of dissonant chords, developing a dialog that includes the "Attack Mode" bass and almost-standard major chords. The entire set is both exhilarating and relaxing, and at just under 30 minutes, way too short. -- Alan K. Lipton

Published in Exposé #39, Summer 2011. Zine available for $7.00 US via snail mail from Exposé, 6167 Jarvis Ave. #150, Newark, CA 94560 USA. Content may appear online eventually at www.expose.org but don't hold your breath.

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released July 29, 2010

Music, Recording & Album Art by Az Samad

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about

Az Samad Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Guitarist-composer Az Samad has performed in the United States, Austria, Spain, Germany, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. He's recorded 21 CDs (ten of which are his solo releases) and has worked with Grammy winners Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca. He's also been on faculty at Berklee College of Music's Summer Guitar Session and taught workshops at Wesleyan University and Freight & Salvage. ... more

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