KASBAH ROCKERS

KASBAH ROCKERS

  1/  Hikayati                                   (Jabbar,Mejjad)               4.40
  2/  Bred Atay                                  (Jabbar,Mejjad)               4.19
  3/  Falludjah Car                              (Jabbar,Mejjad,Lamari)        4.36
  4/  Shta                                       (Jabbar,Mejjad,Lamari)        6.34
  5/  Al Rafel                                   (Jabbar,Mejjad)               4.12
  6/  Bledstyle                                  (Jabbar,Mejjad,Lamari)        4.39
  7/  Mafi Tika                                  (Jabbar,Mejjad)               4.03
  8/  Fikou                                      (Jabbar,Mejjad)               4.43
  9/  Hellou Al Biban                            (Jabbar,Mejjad,Lamari)        5.40
  10/ Hashouma                                   (Jabbar,Mejjad)               4.50
  11/ Shems                                      (Jabbar,Mejjad,Lamari)        4.47
  12/ Rassoul Al Houda                           (Jabbar,Belkacem)             4.18
  13/ Jebel                                      (Jabbar,Mejjad,Lamari)        2.50
  14/ Kasbah Rockers (Vocal Mix)                 (Jabbar,Mejjad,Lamari)        5.53
  15/ Ayna                                       (Jabbar,Mejjad)               5.21
  16/ Kafaka Mina Raks (Vocal Mix)               (Jabbar,Mejjad,Lamari)        5.29

          Recorded at Studio Mejjad, Marrakech, Secret Laboratory, Switzerland and
            Orange Music, West Orange, New Jersey
          Engineering at Orange Music: Robert Musso
          Assistant: James Dellatacoma
          Produced and mixed by Pat Jabbar
          Mastered by Glenn Miller at Greenwood Mastering, Nunningen
Bill Laswell (1,2,5-12): bass; Youssef El Mejjad (1-4,7-9): violin, lotar, oud, keyboards, vocals; B-Net Marrakech (4,10,11): vocals; HS (2,5,8): raps; Abdelaziz Lamar (3,9,15): vocals; Oezlem Ylmaz (3,6): vocals; Makale (3,8): raps; Cheb Mourad (5): vocals; Amina (2): vocals; Abdelkader Belkacem (12): vocals; M. Bouchiba (16): vocals; Kamal (14): vocals; Hicham Talmoudi (1,3,8,10,14,15): violin; Said (9): lotar; Brahim Gedda (1,2,5,7,8): lyrical inspiration; Pat Jabbar: programming, keyboards.

          2008 - Barraka el Farnatshi (Switzerland), BARBARITY 028 (CD)


REVIEWS :

Jill Turner recovers after being sucked into a highly charged vortex of edgy basslines, creative programming and lyrical spitting, before being flung out thrilled but mentally exhausted, onto the dance floor in a post acid, hard house club somewhere deep in Morocco.

The new project from producer and programmer Pat Jabbar who brings old friends from the Barbarity label together, Magrhebika, Makale and Amira Saqati (also responsible for writing 8 of the 16 tracks). Long time creative partner Bill Laswell supplies the basslines and additional studio production, plus an injection of new talent comes in the form of Hamza and Anass. They deliver raps in French and Arabic covering Moroccan street reality alongside an examination of western values, a constant theme of the album. If you are a fan of DAM then you'll enjoy these two brothers from the Marraki crew who work well with the other album's rapper, Makale.

Overall this album is intense and at full tilt it is tough with the beats and tough on the emotions. There's a lot to unravel with each track taking twists and turns of its own and it takes a few listens to start appreciating the textures and use of computer programming in conjunction with the traditional musical instuments of Morroco such as the Lotar. I predict a number of euphamisms, Maroc 'n roll, Drum and Bled.

Tracks that will be on the GondwanaSound playlist are 'Falludjah Car', an anti Iraq war, 'Fikou' a song of unity in a hip hop style and finally the last track of the album 'Kafaka Mina Raks' a more minimal post acid Moroccan hard house track of repetitive yet interesting drum patterns, and sufficient digital tweaks to satisfy the fuzziest headed dance floor weeble...big fish little fish cardboard box !

Jill Turner (courtesy of the Gondwana Sound website)

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Bassist and producer Bill Laswell has always been a globe-hopper with a particular affection for North Africa, and here he shows up as a featured guest on the latest project from Pat Jabbar, a Franco-Swiss-Russian musician from Hamburg by way of Basel. This generously packed album is almost completely excellent from beginning to end: it features an exciting blend of traditional North African instruments and singing; hip-hop and reggae beats; multilingual rapping (in French and Arabic); drum loops and samples; and Laswell's sweet, fat, singing basslines. Nowhere do these elements come together more effectively than on the utterly slamming "Al Rafel," which showcases the tag-team rapping of the Marrakesh duo HS (brothers Hamza and Anass) and is built on a brilliantly simple hip-hop beat and embroidered with trashy synthesizers and multi-layered percussion instruments. "Bledstyle" features one of the very few interesting and enjoyable bass solos ever committed to tape, "Shta" juxtaposes a slowly grinding beat with choral vocals and strings, and on "Kasbah Rockers" singer Kamal builds the energy to a fever pitch over a bed of mixed acoustic and electronic instruments and a madly propulsive dance rhythm. A couple of weak tracks (notably the rather tedious reggae excursion "Shems") notwithstanding, this is a fantastic album overall.

Rick Anderson (courtesy of the All Music website)

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Bill Laswell's name on an album cover always interests me, especially so when it's on a release from any projects from the Pat Jabbar stable. Jabbar's Barbarity label, based in Switzerland, has consistently turned out high quality collections of tunes rooted in the Moroccan tradition but with modern dance and dub inflections. World renowned producer Bill Laswell has appeared on several albums by various artists, sometimes, as here, namechecked along with the artist and sometimes as a guest contributor. Pat Jabbar's music has appeared in a few Hollywood movies and a recent Kasbah Rockers tune Oudistic, is in the soundtrack to The Men Who Stare At Goats, although it is listed as being by Pat Jabbar and Kasbah Rockers. There's no harm in getting your name noticed!

The Kasbah Rockers CD has the kind of garish collage-based cover that the Barbarity label seems to love and is a generous sixteen tracks long. The opener, Hikayati, sets the scene with a slow pulsing dubby groove with some Moroccan instrumentation and a vocal rooted more in Arabic tradition than in Moroccan Berber culture. The follow up Bred Atay starts with a darbuka rhythm and stays in funky bellydance territory apart from some well placed rapping.

Falludjah Car is a highlight of the disc. It's built on a traditional Arabic rhythm and builds until it suddenly cuts to some beautiful Middle-Eastern sounding strings before the beat kicks back in. Shta follows, with another Arabian goblet-drum rhythm leading the way and some nice vocal interplay over Laswell's solid bass support, with some understated overdriven guitar adding to the mix. Al Rafel is more of the same and by the time Bledstyle starts I'm thinking that a lot of the album sounds quite similar. Having said that, I think that about everything Pat Jabbar does but I love it all anyway! I suspect he recycles some melodic ideas, though, as some sections of this album sound strangely familiar.

Track seven, Mafi Tika, slows things down a little, with some kind of sinuous snake-charmer reed instrument weaving its way around the laid-back vocal; very evocative. Fikou brings back the oriental strings and darbuka and Hellou Al Biban brings the dub bass to the fore behind a subtle reggae groove, more overdriven guitar and an expressive vocal.

Track ten, Hashouma, is the first clearly Moroccan rhythm with the bendir frame-drum playing a distinctive 12/8 groove during a slow build until the strings kick in hard before the tune develops into an Arabian dub workout. This is followed by Shems, a subdued reggae skank on pizzicato strings behind an accordion and driving vocal line. Rassoul Al Houda features a funky breakbeat and a vocal by Algerian Abdelkader Belkacem. A short tune, Jebel, follows, featuring a slightly out of place electric guitar solo. It doesn't outstay its welcome, though, and we're soon into Kasbah Rockers (vocal mix), with its opening strings leading into another tune that takes its time to build up to a strong dance groove punctuated by the ubiquitous strings. Definitely a high spot on the album the title implies there's a non-vocal mix somewhere but it's not on this album.

Almost at the end and we get to Ayna, another dancefloor filler, sounding much like the previous track with an analogue synth stab bouncing off the string riffs. The final track is Kafaka Mina Raks (vocal mix), a four-on-the-floor dance tune with a trance feel, lots of percussion and a dubbed out vocal and it brings the album to a satisfying close. This album is a constant presence in my iPod and it stays fresh with repeated listenings, something Pat Jabbar and the Barbarity label manage to achieve with many of their releases. Recommended!).

Vince Millett (courtesy of Ethno Techno website)