Muyassar Kurdi (b. 1989 in Chicago) is a New York City-based interdisciplinary artist. Her work encompasses sound art, extended vocal technique, performance art, movement, photography, and film. She has toured extensively in the U.S. and throughout Europe. A versatile improviser, Muyassar has composed and performed music for voice, harmonium, piano, lyre, autoharp, theremin, bass, and cello. She currently focuses her attention to interweaving homemade electronic instruments and sculpture into her vocal and dance performances, stirring a plethora of emotions from her audience members through vicious noise, ritualistic chants, and meditative movements. Most recently she completed SEVEN VOICES, a multi-channel project for seven voices, which was recorded during her artist residency at EMS in Stockholm February 2018. She also released Travelling on NORENT Records and Intersections and Variations on Astral Spirits in early 2018.
Performance highlights include: The Rubin Museum of Art, Issue Project Room, Cafe OTO, Chicago Cultural Center, Center for Contemporary Art Laznia, Bond Chapel, Fridman Gallery, University Galleries, and Judson Memorial Church.
Collaborators include Daniel Carter, Diana Policarpo, Ka Baird, Tomomi Adachi, Arrington de Dionyso, Yasuno Miyauchi, Lucie Vitkova, Tyler Damon, Bradley Eros, Laraaji, Patrick Holmes, and Ben LaMar among others.
Recorded in 2013, the digital self-release of Beyond the Orchard was an important album in the burgeoning acid-folk Chicago sound. This cassette release is the first physical release of these recordings, which sound particularly majestic when played on tape.
It is the most song-based work of artist, Muyassar Kurdi. The songs are rumbling and solid. The vocal, Autoharp, organ, and percussion layers are live and immediate; even the reverb has a sharpness. This urgency predicts Kurdi's next album, White Noise, and also her current work in improvisation and song.
"(A) twenty-four minute batch of unsettling siren songs, gauze-draped ballads, and rumbling off-kilter loops... The first three pieces are a solid introduction - in brief snippets - to Kurdi's art, culminating in the aptly-titled "Drone", which takes a page from the Journey in Satchidananda book and melds tanpura, oscillators and feedback into a short but arresting instrumental piece. The following three tunes are a bit longer, hovering around four to six minutes, and range from the nearly oppressive wash of "Dear Momma" to the folksy echoed beauty of "Don't Want Your Love." The closing title composition brings the fuzz in a wander of queasy repetition, percussion and blown-out organ that looks somewhat toward early CDY/Espers."
-- Clifford Allen for Tiny Mix Tapes