|Taha, Rachid / Rock El Casbah: The Best Of|
|Add Date:||2008-06-29|| ||Pull Date:||2008-08-31|| ||Charts:||Reggae/World|
|Week Ending:||31 Aug||24 Aug||17 Aug||10 Aug||3 Aug||27 Jul||20 Jul||13 Jul|
Rachid Taha – Rock El Casbah: The Best Of|
Reviewed by Sadie O., 6/23/08
Rai meets punk meets the world. Taha is an Algerian who got moved to France as a kid, and combines intense historical interest with a punk outlook. He’s the guy who moved Arabic popular music into the modern Western world, but not without giving the Western world a good swift kick in the soft white underbelly. Fans of Gong should notice that Steve Hillage has been his producer pretty much throughout his career. The cover of the Clash song didn’t come around by accident, either. Every track is KILLER.
No FCCs detected. 1, 11, 13, and esp. 7 and 14 are my faves.
1. 6:17 ****starts with solo oud, then a wickedly cool bellydance beat with a long and complex oud riff. Something to chill to on a long, hot, spicy night.
2. 4:36 ***flute solo intro, then uptempo hand percussion, and rock guitar – cover of the Clash hit in Arabic. Great mashup, and put Taha on the map over here.
3. 5:14 **hand drums, and a bit of a swingy rock groove, strings. Downbeat and a bit dark sounding, but a wish for peace. Great oud and bass midsong.
4. 5:16 **keyboard and jazzy groove. Sung/spoken in French. Spoken word interlude in English – very biting.
5. 7:29 ***zither intro, uptempo chaabi groove, traditional feel. Fades to drones and vocals midsong – quite intense.
6. 4:51 ***Bo Diddley beat and reverb – way cool! Arabic vocals make an interesting counterpoint here. Lots of additional elements, hints of zydeco and mariachi.
7. 7:14 *****my favorite Taha number – insanely cool middle eastern beat and breathy flutes with gnarly guitars. Gorgeous female vocals near end as well.
8. 3:41 **impassioned vocals and organ chords, intro, then oud and hand percussion, then a rather ironic funky cover of the French patriotic classic. Many French Arabs have covered the song, with different but equally ironic takes.
9. 4:22 **alt-pop meets Indian hip hop. Unusual stuff.
10. 4:04 ***surf guitar and electronic jungle beat, mariachi trumpet. Fun stuff, not at all traditional.
11. 5:59 ****super groovy uptempo beat, somewhere between bellydance and 60’s dance rock. Little trumpet line for spice. Builds to a wonderfully wild sound.
12. 4:33 ***uptempo swingy groove with mostly Arabic musical elements, very upful mood.
13. 4:26 ****uptempo Arabic instruments and jazzy upright bass – great combination.
14. 5:49 *****oud, hand drum, and sharp-edged guitar chords. Rather foreboding sound, apparently very intentional. But so cool! And gets even better midway through. Long fade at end.
15. 5:06 ***handdrum info, traditional song and sound; sadness and anger of the disenfranchised comes through loud and clear.