“An unlikely but vital triumph.” 8/10 NME
“An invigorating listening experience that’s genuinely like nothing else.” 4/5 Time Out London
VERCD027 : Various Artists – Acid Arab Collections
1 – Rikslyd – Oriented
2 – Omar Souleyman – Shift Al Mani (Crackboy remix)
3 – Professor Genius – Couronne
4 – Hanaa Ouassim feat. Turzi, Judah Warsky & Dj Gilb’R – Madad
5 – Pilooski – The Wizzard edit
6 – Acid Arab – Berberian Wedding
7 – I:Cube – Le Bon Vieux Temps (Red Tape Mix)
8 – Danny Mahboune – Ouzou Mneha (Live At Belleville)
9 – Renart – Sahra Min Tahab
10 – Dimmit – Blash
11 – Etienne Jaumet – The Cheik Arrives
12 – Acid Arab feat. Avril & Shadi Khries – Samira
13 – Mattia – Surabaya
Infatuated with the similarities between the hard driving gridlines of European dance music and the repetitious nature that binds disparate folk music from all corners of North Africa and the Middle East together, Parisian dance duo Acid Arab have sought to enlist some of the most innovative and forward thinking producers from their native France and beyond, to bring these sonic cousins together on their pulsating new Acid Arab Collections.
Out on Versatile Records the compilation loosely narrates, among its collision of east-meets-west rhythms and hooks, Acid Arab’s falling in love with the world of far flung Arabic music and their subsequent enthusiasm in bringing it back to Paris to share with their friends and contemporaries. As such, names who appear on this compilation come largely from the Parisian underground like Norwegian-born RIKSLYD and Hanaa Ouassim, or – in the case of the likes of Pilooski and I:Cube – are those who’ve since spread their wings from the French capital and gone on to achieve global recognition with their arresting, open-minded DJ sets of curios and oddities.
Experienced DJs in the Parisian clubbing scene, and residents at the infamous Chez Moune, Acid Arab’s Guido Minisky and Hervé Carvalho sought to widen their musical palette by taking a trip to Tunisia with DJ Gilb’R from Versatile. “We became fascinated by not just Tunisian, but all eastern music and its codes,” the duo explain. “We were intrigued by its complex rhythmic structures, such as binary and ternary patterns superimposing upon each other; they drive dancers to a state of trance just like acid house does.” From there, the pair obsessively absorbed all they could of these newly-discovered sounds, digesting styles and cultures, and taking in late nights of digging through vinyl after vinyl, before seeking to marry these adopted customs with their own dance music heritage. “We wanted to take to take these codes and use analogue techno devices (beatboxes, bassline machines etc.) to create something new,” they say. “An oriental acid music which combines the coldness of techno and the emotional and dramatic power of the east.” The pair have already released two EPs under the Acid Arab name, drawing plaudits from Gilles Peterson, Lovefingers and Tim Sweeney among others.
Arguably the biggest name on the mix comes from Syria, with the much-feted Omar Souleyman featuring by way of his typically frenetic jam, ‘Shift Al Mani,’ receiving a remix at the hands of producer Crackboy. The French knobsmith adds hard edges and an electronic shimmer to Souleyman’s desert-evoking sounds. Other non-Francophones to appear include the new New Jersey-based Professor Genius, whose own material has always gazed globally for influence, and does so again here on the hustling techno-cum-malouf of ‘Couronne.’ French DJ Mattia, meanwhile, is far more subtle in his use of eastern influences, closer ‘Surabaya’ sharing more the abstract sense of release from repetition than any aurally definitive signposts. Some of the strongest material on the compilation comes from Acid Arab themselves. They contribute the lead-off track, the menacing, bludgeoning almost industrial landscapes of ‘Berberian Wedding,’ that mixes in samples of Tunisian voices and singing; they also provide ‘Samira,’ the strongest homage to the music of the east on the whole mix, pulling it away from North Africa and onwards towards Kurdistan and beyond, to India and Pakistan.
Minisky and Carvalho profess huge respect for the historic sounds that they are adopting into their own creative process, keen to highlight it rather than subsume it under their existing musical habits. “Talking about mixing suggests a split, a binary vision of an occidental vs. oriental world. This is beyond that. We don’t paste oriental sounds on occidental beats, we want to embody both cultures without pretending to reinvent oriental music or fooling ourselves by believing we’re inventing eastern dance music,” they say. “We just want to be part of it, and contribute to this brilliant and enormous masterpiece that this music is, and has been for thousands of years.”
Out November 18th 2013 in France, worldwide release February 17th 2014.