Qalaq is the most distilled, variegated and finely wrought Jerusalem In My Heart album to date – featuring a different guest/collaborator on every track, yet as cohesive, emotionally resonant, sonically adventurous and narratively powerful as any release in JIMH’s celebrated discography. Guests across the album’s 13 tracks include Moor Mother, Tim Hecker, Lucrecia Dalt, Greg Fox, Beirut, Alanis Obomsawin, Rabih Beaini and many more.
Qalaq is shaped by a “dismantled orchestra” of musical collaborations, forged through long-distance file exchange during lockdown winter 2020-21 (and the inverted companion to JIMH’s previous 2018 full-length Daqa’iq Tudaiq, which featured a 15-piece orchestra recorded live in Beirut). Moumneh initially through composed Qalaq in purposely stark and skeletal form, then gave each guest artist a section to decompose, edit, re-interpret and recompose as they desired, working their stems back into his own mixes for each piece/section and moulding newfound coherences in the overall work. The result is The album artwork with a front cover colour photograph by Myriam Boulous capturing a scene during the Beirut October Revolution of 2019, back cover calligraphy by Krystian Sarkis, and inner sleeve photography of the Beirut port explosion aftermath by Tony Elieh further contextualizes the specificity and lamentations of Qalaq; the deep worry at its heart.