by Iska Dhaaf

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Happiness, the second in a series of releases from Seattle’s Iska Dhaaf, reveals another layer of the band’s compositional and lyrical depth. Rich with existentialist thought, the songs are searching and honest.

The title track is in pursuit of the ever-elusive idea of contentment. Narrator Nathan Quiroga seems to float above himself, past and future swarming together. Similarly, the immediate and the abstract are compressed into an amalgam. The arrangement twists in the minor and lifts in the major. In contrast to its dark and caustic themes, the vocal melodies are mostly sung in soft harmony, carrying Quiroga along until they both erupt. In the end, two conclusions reveal themselves.

Rumi, largely inspired by the poem “The Tavern” (by the Sufi poet from which the song derives its name) looks out from the soul, seeking refuge from the claustrophobic body and mind.
It tells of the alluring call to inhabit former selves. Like the lyrical themes the music seductively shifts and bends, exploring the very structure it will attempt to escape. The drums and bass push forcefully ahead until the melodies blossom into a series of crescendos, each greater than the one previous, unraveling as they spiral off into eternity.


released 03 September 2013

All songs written by Nathan Quiroga & Benjamin Verdoes

Engineered & mixed by Ephriam Nagler at Dub Narcotic Studios
Mastered by UE Nastasi at Sterling Sound

Released on Brick Lane Records

Art & design by Mandilla (ohmandilla.com)



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Iska Dhaaf Seattle, Washington

Iska Dhaaf (taken from Somali, translated roughly to “let it go”)

Inspired by Sufi poetry, limitation, and an obsessive preoccupation with writing, Nathan Quiroga and Benjamin Verdoes have fused their seemingly disparate musical and personal backgrounds into something searching and honest. Their songs, with heavy rhythms and cutting melodic hooks, are at once infectious and sweetly disarming ... more


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Track Name: Happiness
Is just around the corner.
Taste it, I want to taste it
Till I’m wasted.
Till I fall on my face.
I want to fall in my place.

Is all that fulfills me.
Drain me, I want to drain me
of each memory.
Learn to love myself.
Learn to leave my cells.

I'm happy you’re happy.

Is history.
History is all we look forward to.
Erase it, we will erase
The slavery and hatred.
To control the past
Is to control your future
At last.

I'm happy you’re happy.
Track Name: Rumi
Whoever brought me here
Will have to bring me home.

Who is it in my ear
That has to hear my voice?

Who says words with my mouth?
Who looks out with my eyes?

Who wears my skin as a shroud?
Who strips me when I die?

The men I once was want me
To return to their skins.
Want me to fill their bodies
And hurt us all again.

Did you ever tell them
Hell is not a dream?
It’s a place you’ve been:
You’re a human being.

Take me out of myself.