Komodo Fried Chicken Blues * Sufian Abdullah * Music To Break Out of Jail By
From Peru we move to Ipoh, Malaysia, and the work of instrumentalist Sufian Abdullah. While the location may change, the story of a lone musician honing his craft for years is universal, and Sufian spent his spare time in Ipoh playing guitar, over and over again, practicing riffs endlessly, perfecting chord changes, mastering solos. Sufian’s story could have happened in any city in the world. The only difference is that modern technology allows us to discover artists like this when, even 10 years ago, we would have never heard of a rock musician from Malaysia. And, in a way, he is merely a voice in a sea of digital albums available across the web, one of hundreds that are all vying for attention and your appreciation. Without having a friend clue me into this record, I probably would never have found it.
Fortunately for me, I did.
Music To Break Out of Jail By is a collection of tunes that are all born out of blues-based rock music. Everything is in that Black Sabbath style vein, with a trace of eastern musicality and form. This western influence on the guitar playing of Sufian is clearly his attempt to break out of the expectation that someone from Malaysia would carry in their musical work. Stuff like the Nirvana cover, “School,” – a droney, extended jam on the riff that veers into doomy territory – illustrates that Sufian is not only skilled, but a connoisseur of guitar, and that includes music from home as well as from all over the world, too. For western audiences, an album like this embodies a similar kind of transition: I recognize the blues progressions, but the format is helping me see this music in a new way that I would have never imagined.
As the story goes, Sufian Abdullah practiced guitar for years at home, playing along to all his favorite punk and metal records. This was mostly a hobby to him, and he took to it like some kids take to video games, relentlessly practicing until he had a huge repertoire of songs he could play upon request. However, it wasn’t until home recording was as easy as getting a laptop with GarageBand on it that Sufian even considered making an album. Made almost entirely by himself, this is a fantastic first effort, and even if this is Abdullah’s only release, it’s a great statement about music in general.
I also enjoy the fact that “Komodo Fried Chicken Blues” contains every imaginable rock and roll cliche in a new and intimidating form, and thus, is perfectly suited for Chickenman.