"The pyramids still cast their magnetic spell over Cairo like an unfinished tale. It is an awe inspiring experience to look over the hazy skyline of mosques, skyscrapers, and minarets to see their colossal outlines in the distance, glowing bronze in the shimmering heat."
Songs From The Victorious City is a collection of impressions and experiences inspired by one of the world's most intriguing cities in two of the most innovative recording artists: Anne Dudley of Art Of Noise and Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke.
Cairo, or AI Khihira, literally translated 'the Victorious City', has historically been one of the crossroads of East and West. Intrigued by the prospect of integrating the Arab folk tradition of improvisation with Western pop rhythm, Anne and Jaz visited Cairo in 1990. There they studied the scales and quarter tones and ranges of the Oriental sounds from instruments such as the Nai, Qanun, and Kowala. Beyond that they shared their lives with the people of Cairo. The voices and sounds audible throughout the work reflect the people they met and the places they went to during their visit: a wedding feast in the district of Giza; and the sound of sipping mint tea in the Khan EI-Khilily market. They brought their unique hybrid score to the Egyptian orchestra at Ammar, where they then added basslines and beats to create a deeply evocative album of haunting melodies and powerful dance rhythms.
"History is still unfolding in the Victorious City ... an unfinished story, it could go on forever....
Anne Dudley, with JJ. Jeczalik and Trevor Horn, were the founding members of Art Of Noise. Their first album was released on ZTT label and included such classics as "Beat Box" and "Moments In Love" as well as the major hit "Close To The Edit".
Anne Dudley began working in the studios as a keyboard player and arranger . Amongst the people she worked with were ABC on their Lexicon Of Love album, WHAM! on Bad Boys, Everything She Wants and Young Guns, Malcolm McLaren with whom she wrote co-wrote "Buffalo Girls" and other tracks on Duck Rock, and Frankie Goes To Hollywood on "Two Tribes" and "The Power Of Love".
Anne continues to work as a freelance arranger and musician and has worked with amongst others A-Ha's Hunting High And Low and Stay On These Roads; Paul McCartney's No More Lonely Nights and Press To Play; Rush's Power Windows; Kenny Rogers' The Heart Of The Matter; Liza Minnelli produced by the Pet Shop Boys; Tom Jones; Paul Young; and Wet, Wet, Wet.
Anne's work as a composer has includes numerous TV commercials and film scores including the best sound track of 1988 "A Groovy Kind Of Love" which Anne co-produced with Phil Collins and was a #1 record in both the UK and USA.
As a classically trained violinist, keyboardist, and student of orchestral compositions, Jaz was set to pursue an outstanding career in classical music. Unfortunately, as Jaz puts it, he "got in with a bad crowd!"
Abandoning his more traditional plans, Jaz founded Killing Joke in 1979. Frustrated with existing musical styles, he formed the band desiring instead to define "the sound of the atomic age." The result: Jaz wrote and produced numerous Top 10 UK singles such as "Love Like Blood", "Follow The Leaders", "Empire Song", and "Eighties".
However, since 1982, Jaz has focused on Oriental music, particularly from the Middle East and India, merging the sounds from his cross cultural heritage. As Jaz states, "I identify musically and spiritually with the modern scales and atmosphere of Eastern music. I have cultivated my own style of violin playing using such influences. My ancestral background is Hindu and Persian as well as English, so I feel quite at home with my cross cultural influences."
Jaz considers Egypt's past as the source of all culture. "Western civilisation is derivative of the Roman civilisation which is a derivative of the Greek civilisation which in turn is a derivative of the Egyptian civilisation." Hence, Egypt's past and culture offers the opportunity to discover the origins of Western culture; as well as the similarities rather than the differences with a country that often appears so foreign to the West.
Songs From The Victorious City is a collection of impressions and experiences in Egypt. It is the 'actual' as opposed to 'conceptual'.
"The opening tune 'The Awakening' evokes magic and mystery as moody strings give way to a succession of no doubt authentic Egyptian instruments.'
--Q Review Nov. 1990
"'City's' songs as a whole represent a well-constructed opus that's miles away from the usual exoticism bought at the expense of a few microtonal wobbles into ersatz maqam every other bar. Their brooding horizons in the 'overture', 'Awakening' and the brilliant verve of 'Survivor's Tale' and 'Habebe' deserve special mention."
--Louise Gray- City Limits Sept. 1990
"An interesting meeting on paper, and an absolute stormer on record. Tinged with Eastern melodies and rhythms, this is an offering of rare beauty. The opener, 'Awakening' is as fine an original composition as anything heard this year, but the whole luscious sound track is a mystic marvel. Commanding and compelling."
--Music Week Oct. 1990
"'Victorious Cily' has Egyptian artists lovingly recreating their homeland's melodies in freeform jams with Anne's computers and Jaz's hitherto unexplored prowess at violin and cobra pipes...mixing cod-Arabic grooves and sub-disco beats with the Eastern stylings on display."
--Dele Fadele - NME Oct. 1990
"Songs' is, in many ways, a remarkable record, Anne and Jaz admirably forsaking all conventional considerations in favour of pursuing a virtuous artistic inspiration. The album has an omnipresent, Imposing quality, and an air of ,importance to match its creators' ambition."
--Dave Simpson - Melody Maker Sept. 1990