Seemingly tossed-off spontaneity is the intoxicant with which Alvarius B vs Abdel Baqy Byro in Cairo is heavily laced. This 39-minute lenticular collage recalls Tangier-era Burroughs in its concealment of structure behind a veneer of arbitrary free association, with Alvarius B. delivering his take on contemporary behavioral dementia in a style that veers from the nocturnal yammer of legendary somniloquist Dion McGregor to salty neo-Yossarian ravings to the casual vitriol of a misanthrope who knows he's entertaining. It was recorded live all over Cairo (in cars, trains, apartments, garages, cafes, bars, on rooftops, on the street) with a backline that includes little else beyond an acoustic guitar and a radio.
Field recordings, glitchy wheeze underpinnings, and snippets of space murble garnish the album, but site-specific stuffing is what gives this kataif its particular flavor: a rapped tribute to the murdered members of a hardcore soccer fan-club; a pas de deux for laptop keyboard and BBC's coverage of Gaza bombings; public demonstrations against the Muslim-Brotherhood-authored Constitution; Monte Carlo Arabic Service's mention of the 70th anniversary of El Alamein battle. Alan Bishop's quilt of screenshots depicts a consciousness informed by an increasingly universal presumption that everything public should be interactive, if only to act as a vessel for contempt.