Wow, wow, wow! The multi-cultural DJ extraordinaire has teamed up with some of Algeria’s top singers, plus an all-star lineup of musicians including Bill Laswell and Karsh Kale, for a fantastic blend of old and new. The electronics/production tricks are perfectly balanced with the original music, and the vocalists are front and center, not subservient to the mix. Excellent work all around; should make a lot of critics’ Top 10 lists for the year in the world music mags.
PLAY IT ALL! (Fo's picks: 1, 2, 4, 8)
1. 8:07 – violin/vocal intro, upbeat tradeoffs between lead vocal, violin solos, male chorus, all in a slinky-bouncy rhythm. Cool surprise ending!
2. 6:02 – street sounds, husky lead vocals in call & response w/ chorus, great hand drum/clapping camel-walk rhythm. Speeds up at end.
4. 9:57 – fast strumming intro; two women bounce lyric back and forth while chorus chants, quick slashing rhythm. Second half has a loping rhythm and unrestrained lead vocals.
5. 8:11 – droning intro; sinister rhythm and slinky call & response vocals; very “exotic” North African tribal feel. Ends with electronics/wind tones.
6. 8:38 – heavier electronics & echo/filter effects in this one. Builds a strong rolling frame drum rhythm w/ hypnotic vocals, breaks down into creepy atmospherics, bounces back to uptempo trance at the end.
7. 6:18 – Cover of Ofra Haza’s 1980s mega-hit: long intro, hits a deep groove once melody kicks in. Lack’s Haza’s punch, but has a more contemporary sound.
8. 12:56 – Traditional ballads; very sweet vocals over violins & drums, with just a slight electronic undertone throughout. Goes through several melodic/rhythmic phases, all really nice. Ends with a vocal twist.