Men in Burka

Fear is on the menu on the new Men in Burka album, War/Magic. But while themes of anxiety and trepidation are familiar territory in instrumental music, there is something inherently authentic about this release. Traditional Middle Eastern aesthetics are filtered through modern beats and compounded with samples of machine guns and angry, chanting mobs, making it easy to assume that the unsettling feeling of the record is rooted in a statement on U.S. foreign policy. But no such message appears to be tucked into the music; it's not political, outside of being a sort of Rorschach test for Western feelings toward the Middle East. Despite the album's foreboding tone, songs like "Bismillah" and "Lamborghini Kashmir" are quite danceable — but down-tempo numbers, such as "Mohenjo Daro" and "War/Magic," prolong the cinematic unease, an unrelenting sensation that there's something horrible waiting just around the corner.


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