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Ahmed Malek: Musique Original de Films

Track List

>Omar Gatlato
>Ville, La
>Ville, Pt. 2, La
>Vancances de L'Inspecteur Tahar, Les
>Silence Des Cendres, La
>Autopsie d'un Complat
>Cote, La
>Toit et Une Familie, Un
>Omar Gatlato [Alternate Version]

Album Notes

This marks the third release in less than a year from Germany's killer Habibi Funk label, which is dedicated to unearthing rare, grooving treasures from the world of Arab music during the 1970s. Ahmed Malek is a prolific, award-winning Algerian film composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and bandleader. He was among the first in his country to experiment with the Moog and wedded its sounds and textures to jazz, funk, rock and of course, Arab folk traditions. Musique Original de Films contains remastered versions of songs from the musician's seminal album of the same name, adds previously unreleased tracks, rare photos of the artist's life, and even includes an interview. While the sounds on this 14-track set are easily distinguishable, the way they are assembled is both captivating and strange, emotional and deeply saturated with grooves subtle and overt. Check the opener "Omar Gatlato" (there is an alternate version as the album's bookend): Slippery B-3, a sultry cowbell, and brushed snare offer a samba rhythm before a haunting flute solo and synth break (resembling a harpsichord) take it to another dimension. Frenetic hand percussion introduces "Les Vancances de L'Inspecteur Tahar," as the driving horn section is drenched in brass, strummed ouds, guitars, and a pumping bassline. This is where Arab street music meets Afrobeat. "La Silence des Cendres" is pure, grooving, minor-key soundtrack funk with layered breaks, swirling strings, and a punchy, tight, electric bass. "Bolero" is exactly that, with an interplay between various keyboards, a sweet, lonesome oboe, oud, and a hypnotic, slow 4/4 rhythm played on a trap kit, congas, and dumbeks. The tenor saxophone solo adds the blues to the mix. It's followed by the smoking "Un Toit et Une Familie," led by a bouncy bass riff as oud, balalaika, strings, winds, and drums come swooping in like the theme from a haunted spaghetti western. There isn't a spare moment on Musique Original de Films. By its close, the listener should, if anything, become a dedicated fan of Malek. It is seamless from track to track, and delivers a series of moods and mental states that are nostalgic for a time and place most of us have never known. Essential. ~ Thom Jurek


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