On Ibtihalat, Safa explores the percussive musical traditions from across north Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, wrestling with geopolitical complexity and musical migrations while at the same time gesturing towards possible future iterations of these sounds. From North Africa, Safa lifts elements from gnawa, West African, Islamic music with ritual significance that spread across the breadth of the continent via musicians forces to relocate to the Moroccan coast, amazigh, polyrhythmic music indigenous to the Berbers of north Africa, and raï, Algerian folk music notable for its anti-colonial lyrical content and it’s adaptation by women vocalists and performers (cheikas) as emblematic of sexual liberation and hedonism. From the Arabian Peninsula, Safa references Sea Music, more commonly known as Music of the Pearl Divers, work songs devised by the ship builders, seamen and pearl divers of the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf, laywa, ceremonial music from Bahrain, UAE, Oman and Basra, Iraq brought over during slave trades from Kenya, South Somalia and Tanzania, and samiri, music related to Zar rituals of exorcism and spirit expulsion. Drawing from a sprawling, yet intrinsically linked, patchwork of cultural exchange and musical tradition, Safa threads richly textured percussive compositions, headfuck assemblages of sound design, micro-sampling, algorithmic sound technology, psychoacoustics, field recordings, and their graphic interpretations. “The album crafts a multi-patterned sonorous speculation, reflective of percussive musical traditions whose histories and presents shapeshifted with spatial and logistical yet celestial imaginaries,” he explains.