Tom Calvert is the producer and third member of transatlantic hip hop group Swet Shop Boys, formerly known as Redinho. He released a new solo album titled Zanbor that is out now via Customs. Watch the short film directed by Abdullah Al-wali (Lean Low).

The film begins with the Iraq you’re used to seeing on the news but introduces archive Iraqi Television, VHS and mobile phone footage uploaded to youtube from the 1950’s up until present day. It’s a voyeuristic journey across Baghdad landscape pre-war, post-war to give insight to the humanity and culture engraved in Iraqi society.

‘Zanbor’ features 14 new beats that intersect electronic music and hip hop, influenced heavily by Iraqi folk music and Arabic instruments. ​The khishba (aka the zanbour – Arabic for wasp) is a hand drum that sounds like a machine gun and is peppered throughout this mixtape, most noticeably on ‘Wasp’ but has also been manipulated further on the hooks of ‘Uzi’ whilst overtly used throughout ‘Between The Cracks’.

In Tom’s own words:

I’ve tried to make this record as much a moment in time as possible, aiming to make a beat a day in December 2016 and resisting urges to edit. This was to avoid analysis paralysis, perfectionism, and give it a punk feel.

I also wanted the record to sound lo fi, as if it’s a dusty artifact found in the rubble. Much of the sounds were run through a space echo emulator and this gave it an atmosphere that felt relevant.