arfan munir ezra rai

arfan munir ezra rai 25, is a young londoner, teacher/lecturer and writer of philosophy & religion. arfan was born and raised in West London; Kew Gardens, and was educated at Cambridge and the City University of London studying Philosophy. the compositions featured by arfan span a period of two to three years. during this period arfan travelled along the routes of his own arabic, persian/samarkand ancestral routes visiting Yemen, Libya, Syria, Socotra, Afghanistan, North Pakistan and Uzbekistan;Samarkand. arfan's interests have emerged out of his concern that many of the traditional islamic disciplines, esoterics and learning institutions were deiliberately dismantled during and following the colonisation era. much of his youth was spent visiting the locations recorded travelling with the bedouins and nomadic people. realising that many of the world's oral traditions have chosen to convey their message through the medium of sound, arfan himself has chosen to study the relationship of sound with religion & philosophy. arfan is a teacher and lecturer in Philosophy and a member of the CTRC (Centre for Theology, Research & Culture) at Kings College London. arfan also records under two monikers: vizier of damascus and d m s c s.

vizier of damascus will be performing live in the Radio Taxi studio on Sunday 29th May.

o n e   h u n d r e d   t h o u s a n d   b i r d s. 0.39 mins
khyber pass pakistan/china

recorded initially on minidisc whilst walking along the khyber pass; deepest reaches of north pakistan, touching the himalayas and bordering onto china. whilst walking with the local nomadic tribe (from the hunza valley), ascending along a spiral stone path/road, a flock of some one hundred thousand birds could be seen in the distance. from a distance they seemed reminiscent of  offset parallelogram shapes, but different in this sense that the shapes were constantly in flux. as the birds approached towards us, i made attempt to record them. note the sounds of trucks also using the road.

s i t a r   l o v e   s o n g 6.14 mins
lahore; punjab. east pakistan

recorded initially on minidisc in lahore; pakistan, originally the traditional capital of India before the partition. the older part of the city is extremely old, built out of stone. this recording was made at a musician's house, after being introduced through  a friend.

h a d r a (mystical, meditative gathering) 17.44 mins
damascus, syria.

recorded intially on tape. i am compelled to inform that of many hadra's that i have attended, very rarely have i been moved to the extent of tears and experiencing the ephemeral. i am fortunate and blessed to have been present at one.sung in classical ancient arabic, the hadra is a congregative meditative experience of solely the voice, orchestrated and accoustically performed in a spiral like format. the spiral is represented through the patterns of the song, and similarly to how one's experience of a spiral hastens towards the centre, so the chanting also reflects this in its measured tones. the architecture of many traditional mosques compliment the human voice, as the geometrical dimensions of pillars, domes and walls, seem specifically designed to distribute sound panoramically around the buildings. the spiral in Sufism/Islam represents the inward motion and trajectory of the soul at realising the oneness of God/reality. It is through one's subjective, infinite soul, a drop of the divine, whereby one is able to reach a point of infinity. a point of union with the divine consciousness.  the subjects of hadra's are centered around the praising of God's attributes, thus the only fathomable manner how we as humans are epistemelogically able to understand God, and therefore also by praising the apex, the epitome of God's communication to mankind . . . the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h)

d o t.7.38mins
hadramaut, yemen.

electroaccoustic composition exploring the desert storms of the hadramaut valley in yemen. here the accoustic narrative explores the evolution of a storm, as it interacts with the objects of a mud house exposed in the desert.

k a l a m   t h e o l o g y   w h e e l 4.29mins
electroaccoustic composition exploring the narrative of the soul as a wheel. kalam in islamic philosophy roughly translates as theology. in this composition, the soul as represented by a wheel, has an off-centre, and thus its movement are irregular struggling to find harmonious movement/revolution. towards the end of the composition the centre of the wheel slowly moves towards the centre and thus the sounds begin to move towards the realisation and semblanceof harmony.

i n w a r d   s u f i   a s c e n t s 6.4 mins
electronica composition exploring a personal experience of sufi meditations.
rather ephemeral and monastic.

h u n z a   v a l l e y   l a m e n t 2.25mins
hunza valley;pakistan.

a mystical lament from the hunza valley exploring the paradoxical teaching of yearning the return of a passed relative only for the reason to be taught how to let go of this life of dense material things. "we come into this world crying and in despair with everyone around us joyful and smiling, and we should leave this world smiling and joyful with everyone around us crying and in despair." 

t r i b u t e   t o   r u m i 2.45mins
konya, turkey.
playing of duduc flutes in Konya, the birthplace of Jalal Al Din Rumi. 

d m s c s.2v 2.25mins
electroaccoustic composition exploring the internal didactic relationship between my mind and soul.

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