Mureed performs using tapes, looping pedals, drum machines, samplers, a digital interface, and a variety of instruments or objects with contact microphones for amplification. It is an extension of personal interest in ritual and religious music.
A clear understanding of their aesthetic and compositional approach can be heard in their submission and consequent participation in the Circuit Bridges call; a call intended on connecting musicians together from London and New York. Pieces taking part were broadcasted in both cities on separate dates; the first on the 16th of April 2015 at Machine’s Room in London, UK and the second on the 30th of the same month at Gallery MC in New York, USA.
Their submission entitled Surfaces 1 was a five minute improvised sound piece consisting of amplified Javanese bells and Moroccan hand drums, processed field recordings using granular synthesis, several effects pedals, and a portable radio; the last of which was a crucial aspect within the structure of the composition. Conceptually, the piece was constructed from a study of the Sema ritual in Sufi meditation. Sema, loosely translated in English as ‘listening’, is a spiritual activity in which the participant, through dance and music, attempts to ‘listen inwards’ in order to reach spiritual clarity. The double faceted nature of the ritual, part action and part introspection, can be related to the act of improvisation, where listening and performing become one and the same effort. In this particular piece, the portable radio brought in an element of randomness; which enablied the performer to achieve a sonic sensibility and thereby, compelling one to react and interact with constant and unpredictable change.
A performance that marked a progressively more specialised output was in 02/06/15 at the fifth edition of Four Legs Good. This performance consisted of a minimal setup; emphasising the electronic counterpart of the performance by basing the progression around the Elektron Rytm. The laptop during this performance served as an effects unit and in order to enhance stereo width, in contrast to their previous presentations, where due to the setup going directly through pedals, presentations resulted in a mono signal duplicated onto a stereo system.
The setup consisted of Istishhad Hheva using a Moroccan hand drum which was amplified using contact microphones, a tape player that sounded through the hand drum, an Elektron Rytm. Lutfi was using a selection of tapes manipulated through several loop pedals, and a mixing desk which fed into several delay pedals, which again fed through the laptop and back into the main desk that connected to the main audio system.
Mureed is an ongoing collaborative project between Lutfi Othman and Istishhad Hheva. Since 2014 they have performed around London at various events, showcases, and exhibitions. For more audio material click here.