Safa - Ibtihalat (gnawa influenced electronics)


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Well I'm not sure if this will be too nerdy for some but ive been really digging this record recently.

It's always the direction i wanted the so-called postclub/deconstructed club wave to go in, but mostly those guys weren't austere enough and ended up passing as sociology dissertation music. i think this will be up my gal @other_life 's street. here's the review i wrote for RYM

superficially this record may possess the standard hyperdigital sheen gloss of contemporary club music, however you'd be deceived if you dismissed it for this reason. What you're instead treated to is a dry industrial programming in a mike ink/sahko style refracted through middle eastern and north african musical traditions such as gnawa and Rai. Keep the intent austere and disciplined without any of that hurky jurky profligate sound design for (mostly guilty white) critics to write bad think pieces about.

No, despite the hi-falutin technical complexity of this music (and you can read about the machine learning and markov chains used to generate these tracks) this album is intensely visceral and will do untold damage in the rave.

This is all about the algorithms trying to escape the constraints and limitations of traditional metronomic sequencing, because of course as anyone familiar with electronic music knows, machine funk itself is a contradiction in terms. Whilst micro and quartertonal melodic electronic music is huge all across the world its rare to hear electronic music that can swing like traditional classical, gnawa, rai or marakchi (or even folk) percussionists. What Safa does here is not so much an attempt to replicate live human swing (which would indeed be a retrograde step) but explore this dichotomous relationship between the mathematical exactitude of the machine and the ever so significant variations that are used in these traditions to embellish the rhythms. A rhythm is not merely a 1-2-3-4 (as much as the rock music tradition would have one believe) it is also a mode of non-linguistic speech — one could say the ur-tone poetry. For those with eastern ears like myself, this is a matter of instinct - our percussion instruments express quite audible variations in pitch compared to the western drum kit.

Favourite track has to be track 7, Ouda And The Strikers At Najd - extremely slippery and geometrically holistic.

This is an extremely promising development in electronic music and I'm eager to hear what mr. Safa has planned for the future.



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oh seen that Lee Gamble breh's involved with this

honestly considering some of the stuff they've put out like Mr Mixondo and the Nihiloxica stuff i'm a bit surprised Nyege Nyege Tapes ain't on dis


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I have also stumbled upon it recently. Very impressive, but too overly complex and intense for old me. I always end up listening to something like Omar S afterwards to get my brain calmed down again