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Obay Alsharani Releases Minecraft-inspired Album

Obay Alsharani. Sandbox Album, 2021
obay_sh via Instagram

Brighton’s Hivemind Records will release the debut album of Obay Alsharani, a Syrian migrant now settled in Sweden. Sandbox was conceived and recorded after Alsharani was forced to leave his home in Damascus and to live for an extended period in refugee accommodation in the far north of Sweden while he awaited the result of his residence application. It was there that he also sought refuge in the world-building game Minecraft, a place where he could momentarily forget the chaos and destruction in his homeland and the upheaval and uncertainty of his situation in Sweden, and concentrate on creation.

Inspired by the beauty of the Swedish landscape, the shifting colors of the Northern Lights, and ambient sounds, particularly C418's Minecraft soundtrack, the music of Boards of Canada, and Colleen, Alsharani embarked on the production of the deeply personal, calming and sheltering music that became Sandbox. The album conjures the snowscapes and the shifting colors of the Arctic night sky. Lo-fi orchestral samples, melodies that tease the subconscious mind, and half-heard field recordings combine to produce an album with serious emotional weight. The accompanying visuals are also from Alsharani’s experiments with video feedback art.

Hivemind has also announced that the label's share of profits from the sale of the cassette will be donated to Refugee Council.