Review: Ariwo & A Guy Called Gerald @ The Pickle Factory (London, 16th April 2016)

Ariwo are a little-known, and newly-established, world fusion act. Led by sound designer, Pouya Ehsaei, they are a quartet of celebrated instrumentalists exploring Afro-Cuban, Iranian and electronic atmospheres. Their ever-growing list of accolades and projects is immense, including trumpeter Yelfris Valdes’ participation in the Buena Vista Social Club, and Latin Grammy Award winner Hammadi Valdes.

Awiro opened to an expectant crowd. Their sound is a mixture of live instruments, electronic manipulation and supporting tracks, all triggered and tweaked by musical director, Pouya Ehsaei. Live percussion and ghostly trumpets are an un-relenting part of their set and key to their sound. There are seamless moments when the predominant Afro-Cuban flavours are mixed with melodic Iranian female vocals and Oud, all enveloped in a downtempo, acid house cocoon. Their vibe is certainly chilled, and allows for the virtuosity and improvisational qualities of the musicians to shine through.

After the Ariwo set and without any introduction, A Guy Called Gerald stepped up and sensitively continued the downtempo acid and world-beat flavours. To his credit, this well-known and eclectic electronic artist maintained the world fusion ambience created by Ariwo. In some circles, A Guy Called Gerald is credited as an acid house and jungle pioneer. It was refreshing, therefore, to experience a complimentary set full of world-beat and relaxed acid. Overall, the night was a well thought out synthesis between the two acts.