A hard hitting collection of tracks (14 songs!) that brings the underground DJ scene to the doorstep of the Sahara. Rai music has always been a fertile ground for fusion, as all of the legends of the genre (Khaled, Cheb Mami) are living in exile. And as with all cultural crossroads with musical and artistic results are usually very interesting.
MC Rai brought in most of the tunes on his little MP7 groovebox. He hit play and started singing. It was incredible, all of the songs even in their most raw form were great and he had so many. We loaded all of the raw tracks into the computer and began arranging the material. The parade of session musicians that arrived into the studio was amazing. Reda Darwish, Dan Cantrell, Ariea Frankfurter, Daniel Berkman, Margo…, Rappers CB (Alphabet Soup) and N4CR, the list goes on…so many great performances. The final mix was done by Mark Pistal (Meat Beat Manifesto, Consolidated, Michael Franti) who added the dark dubby sound.
This album is going to be a watermark for the genre as it takes everything that was started by Rachid Taha and Khaled and leaves it all behind. It spans the range of styles with Arabesque bumping grooves, Raggaton, Indy Rock, Hip Hop and straight up Rock Anthems. Although the vocals are in Arabic, the emotion that comes off the music is universal and heartfelt. It is also interesting for me as it is the first collaboration I have had with a male vocalist. My career has up until now been working primarily with female singers (Lumin, Stellamara).
We are releasing the debut on my new label EMBARKA RECORDS and I have had an amazing time playing live to support the album.