Something Different

05/12/2023L.A.-Based Sublabel Discotchari Presents Its First Release – A 7" Reissue Of Armenian Rare Grooves

Finally! This one has been a long time coming. Los Angeles-based imprint Discotchari has been an avid supporter of ours for quite some time now, probably since the COVID era, when we seemed all the more bound to our socials. Likewise, we've been following their pursuits of digging up and promoting rare grooves from the Armenian diaspora. A sublabel of electronic label Critique, Discotchari is on a self-proclaimed mission of "pushing the boundaries of Armenian music by highlighting rare grooves embedded in overlooked diaspora communities and strongholds from Boston to Beirut, Montevideo to Marseilles and Santa Monica Boulevard to Sayat Nova Avenue."

Now, the label's co-founders Zachary Asdourian and Anaïs Gyulbudaghyan have managed to unearth "an entire deadstock run of this '45" featuring "previously unheard material from the most progressive oud player of the 20th century," John Bilezikjian, and "the Elias Rahbani of Burbank-via-Beirut," percussionist Raja Zahr. "Something Different" is, quite literally, a short but sweet two-sider that brings us two surefire tracks yet inexplicably "ended up getting shelved as the respective artists' carrers took off." With a total running time of just under six minutes, you will need to flip the record a couple of times to let these extraordinary productions take full effect. 

Hippy-esque in feel – well, duh, these tracks were originally released by Nose Records in 1970 – both tracks reveal a wider array of influences and a genre-defying blend of styles that is no less thrilling. "Zulu Man" opens on an oud interlude by John Bilezikjian, who (guessing by the cover shot) can also be heard on vocal duties with Raja Zahr providing the backing colours and rhythmic chassis. It is an ethereal ballad of sorts, reminiscent of a troubadour making his pitch, but also brings a percussive edge to the table as bongos, oud and chorus join forces to deliver a stunning, resounding final buildup. "Chemical Reaction" on the other hand sees Bilezikjian manning the harpsichord and Zahr roughing up the drum kit to deliver an uptempo instrumental heater that should get just about anyone's dancefloor juices flowing. Short story long, don't sleep on this find!

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom