Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Radio Morocco

This is one of the more interesting items I have come across in a while...from the label's website:
"It was the summer of 1983 in Morocco. The Polisario guerillas were operating in the Southern Sahara and the mood was tense in the Arab world. The Government of King Hassan was suspicious of anything out of the ordinary. Checkpoints were everywhere along the highways. AIDS was the new disease. The American entertainment industry was grinding Michael Jackson's THRILLER into the world consciousness as US export culture supreme. Dr. J won his first and only NBA Championship ring. I knew all this from the small transistor radio I carried from Tangier to Marrakesh. I rented an apartment in Essouira on the Atlantic coast and began my swan dive into international radio collage. A songwriter by the name of Younes Megri had the number one hit during the summer of 1983 in Morocco. Radio Tangier International had the strongest signal in Northwest Africa.

They played everything from Euro-pop to Be-bop to Heavy Rock to Moroccan folk trance. Less-powerful stations played Berber folk music late into the night. This collection is 20 years old and has grinded into my skull as Moroccan export culture supreme. This is some of the greatest music ever known displayed here amidst snippets of news, commercials, radio noise and a host of otherworldly transmissions. Arabic music is HIGH ART. At its best, it transcends western music even as it utilizes it as a display of emotion and celebration. The Moroccans are deep contributors to the high art of Arabic music. May this disc download into your mind as an anti-virus. It worked for me. I don't even remember THRILLER by Michael Jackson."
And from All Music:
"...far from being a coherent document, Radio Morocco is still an entertaining listen and one of the best of the label's discs. Compiled by world traveler, Sun City Girls member, and label founder Alan Bishop, Radio Morocco is culled from tapes recorded by Bishop while overseas visiting North Africa in much collage as culture document and...complete with ancient tape hiss, shortwave radio squelches, and sometimes jarring edits that cut songs off midway through, but the whole is greater than the parts on Radio Morocco, and largely due to Bishop's editing, it works. Arabic crooners, news reports, local folk, and Western-influenced pop recordings all make their way into the chaotic mix...for any listener who has been turned off by the antiseptic nature of most ethnographic surveys, this will be a welcome introduction to both Morocco and a whole new way of hearing the world."
Radio Morocco