Friday, September 14, 2007

Aisha Kandisha's Jarring Effects: Shabeesation

I find that a lot of the attempts at "East meets West", world-dance music falls flat. Instead of sounding like some hot global dance club it often sounds like Eastern music with bad drum loops and over-production.

Sometimes it is completely inspired.

This record is a bit of a mixed bag, with a couple of definite duds (if you make it through the first track "A Muey A Muey" you will be in good shape), but on balance its worth seeking out through your favorite purveyor...

Some background from the label's catalog:
"Under the direction of their Arabic-speaking Swiss leader and co-producer Patrick Jabbar El Shaheed, the seven members of AKJE recorded the initial sessions for SHABEESATION in 1991 and 1992 in Casablanca. A shabee (Morrocan dance-pop) band at its core, the group's Indian and Arab melodies and rhythms were embellished in the initial mixing process with "found sounds" recorded to DAT by Jabbar El Shaheed. These atmospheric snippets of life in Marrakech include the thud of a knife being slapped across the back of a neck (on "Dunya"), samples of Soussi Berber musicians (also on "Dunya"), and the blasts of a gunshot (on "Nbrik"). Throughout the album's nine tracks, electric guitars and synthesizers mix with traditional Moroccan instruments including the kmenja, a violin instrument played vertically, the guimbri, a West African bass-stringed instrument, and aouuda, a small wooden flute.

The band's already complex sound was further transformed at Bill Laswell's Brooklyn studio in 1993. As co-producer, he invited Umar Bin Hassan of the Last Poets to lend his booming vocals to "Fin Roh," while Laswell himself picked up his fabled bass for several tracks. P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell and rest of the groove-heavy Greenpoint Posse round out the funk. The already hypnotic fusion of Moroccan dance-pop and modern sampling technology were taken to a higher plane under Laswell's direction, and the resulting trancelike melange is positively rapturous."

I love Umar's voice so his track, "Fin Roh", is included below as is "Nbrik Dub", featuring Bernie Worrell. My favorite track is the very bizarre "El Harb"...

Aisha Kandisha's Jarring Effects: Fin Roh, Nbrik Dub, Lahbab, and El Harb -
from Shabeesation