Acid Arab – 'Collections' album review

Two French DJs and their producer friends thrillingly mash Middle Eastern and North African sounds into western dance music

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

On the surface you may not think that North Africa and the Middle East would share musical parallels with Chicago’s rich history of house music. Well, two crafty Parisians are out to prove you wrong by mashing the two into one banging hybrid dance album.

Seasoned DJs on Paris’s club circuit, Guido Minisky and Hervé Carvalho have followed up their residencies at the trendy Chez Moune and joined forces for the Acid Arab project. Following a trip with Versatile Records head honcho and DJ Gilb’R to his roots in Djerba, Tunisia, the duo developed an attachment to the unheralded forms of music to which they were exposed.

Back in Paris, Minisky and Carvalho laid the foundations for the vision they had in mind, and recruited dozens of their talented producer friends for an acidic and exotic concoction marrying the styles of mind-fizzling early acid house and the electrifying strains of North African and Middle Eastern music.

‘Collections’ is their first full-length release after a series of EPs, and it brims with authenticity. There are dancefloor-focused cuts from French underground figurehead I:Cube, whose lead synths reference meandering eastern melodies on ‘Le Bon Vieux Temps’, and Renart, whose ‘Sahra Min Tahab’ sounds like a Dance Mania record’s long lost  Middle Eastern counterpart.

Everyone’s favourite wedding singer, Syria’s Omar Souleyman, has his track ‘Shift Al Mani’ twiddled with by Crackboy, who hits the Acid Arab sound on the head: Souleyman’s vocals, rolling multi-percussive elements and Rizan Sa’id’s frenetic Syrian sonics amalgamate with a brooding, acid-soaked bassline and pounding warehouse beats.

‘Collections’ has its curveballs too: Hanaa Ouassim’s ‘Madad’, Acid Arab’s ‘Berberian Wedding’ and Danny Mahboune’s ‘Ouzou Mneha’ manoeuvre for experimentation, adding a psychedelic new wave dimension to what is already a busy palette of sounds.

You’ve got to admire the duo’s willingness in attempting this off-the-wall concept. It may look on paper like a recipe for cacophonous disaster, but Hervé and Guido’s depth of knowledge and understanding of the genres allows them to muster an invigorating listening experience that’s genuinely like nothing else.

Buy this album here

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Listen to Acid Arab on Spotify

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