October 18,2020

Episode 1

From the remote forests in Sweden to beautiful Zanzibar in East Africa

Picture by Marta Witkowska
Picture by Marta Witkowska
Picture by Marta Witkowska

In the first episode we start our trip in the middle of a bizarre ritual in Harga, Sweden, travel then through the rural backcountry of Scotland to meet a hypnotic percussion master in Porto. We follow a Tunisian electronic producer on his exploration trip to India, learn what the term post-classical grunge means and meet Siti Muharam, the golden voice of Zanzibar, embracing her great grandmothers´ legacy.

Featured Artist: C. Diab

For each episode of the podcast, we choose one artist whom we want to present in a little more in-depth feature on our website. We start this off with the Canadian artist C.Diab aka Caton Diab who's track "Street Scenes" was featured in the podcast. The song is haunting and meditative, offers a cinematic widescreen soundworld and was released on his latest album "White Whale "earlier this year. Caton explains the album title like this:

The hope for security, for accountable humanitarian leadership, for affordable housing and fair income, for understanding, things which we learned were natural pieces of a progressive society, now seems like humanity's great white whale in a darker, regressive world, once appearing on the horizon only to disappear again into the deep.
C. Diab - photo by ozge cone

This record brings together an excellent mix of progressive ambient music, film score sound and also post-rock. Caton describes his sound as "post-classical-grunge. He uses a bowed guitar, flute, trumpet, synths and tape manipulations to create his really wonderful mix of sound.

 He sees his music as a motivation for self-healing and says: "It's my hope that "White Whale" will lend a small hand to the listener's emancipation from inward fear and sadness and feelings of unworthiness and help you realize what it is you need to do in order to have that conversation or make that move and two steps forward in crushing that which seeks to crush you.

 We wanted to know more about Caton, his background and his musical ideas behind the latest album and asked him a couple of questions.

Can you tell us a little bit about your musical background – how, where, and when you started with music, and how did you develop your artistic voice?

As a child, I had a friend about my age, who lived a few houses down the street in the town I grew up in. His father was an acoustic guitar player, and he played instrumentally in his own unique blend of American Primitive, Atahualpa Yupanqui and 1970's/80's popular Psych-Rock.

He had been raised in a remote logging camp, and eventually, he was old enough to strike out on his own, spending most of his 20's travelling in Europe and finally studying under Alejandro Jodorowsky for a number of years in Paris. It wasn't his music itself that originally struck me as a child, but the way his three guitars looked hanging on the wall.

They looked fantastic, there was no more beautiful thing. As I got older and began to make music myself, we formed a closer friendship, and he took on more of a teaching role. Many of my earliest conceptions around musical formulation and composition came from him.

C. Diab - photo by ozge cone

What is the idea or the concept behind the new album White Whale?

During the time I was working out the pieces of music that would eventually become WW, generational disenfranchisement was on the forefront of my mind, expectations for a better fairer future felt farther away than ever (still do), and I was actively trying to shed certain expectations I was raised with from my own mind, like thoughts of having children, owning a home, living within some semblance of financial or existential comfort for the foreseeable future, etc.

 The political leadership seemed abysmal (still does), the left seemed too inept to organize for any long term change (still does), and this was all within the backdrop of living in one of the least affordable cities on earth dealing with an extreme housing crisis run by a civic government who seem to have never seen another city before. The white whale of expectation, the white whale of contentment I suppose. And this was all before the global plague.

C. Diab - photo by john d. alberts

What is the story behind the song "Street Scenes" that is featured in the podcast?

I never go into the studio with a concept in mind, all thoughts regarding music are afterthoughts, for me anyway, and the concept or theme presents itself eventually, like a skeleton fleshing itself out. At the time of writing what would become street scenes, I had been walking in the downtown eastside where I live, and there had been a flurry of violent activity on the street that day, every street seemed jam-packed with weird action.

 I don't drive, and my main moments for listening to music are when i'm walking. I couldn't hear anything around me but the music I was listening to, and I suddenly felt divorced from it all, a passive invisible floating observer. Later on, at night, somebody had set various dumpsters on fire at the end of every street in my neighbourhood for 4 blocks, big raging ones. All that would eventually work its way into what street scenes became.

What can people expect from C. Diab as a live act in the future?

 At the moment, obviously, all live shows are off the table. There were many plans for the year musically, but unfortunately, they all had to be shelved or cancelled altogether. I'm hopeful that live music will return in force, as it's such a key missing ingredient to people's lives, and when it does, I'll have months of lockdown music to pour into peoples ears. As soon as possible, I'll like to get back overseas to tour.

C. Diab – Live @ The Spot Sessions. Recorded August 22, 2020.

Can you share with us three artists/albums that you listen to or that have inspired you lately?