Various Artists 1970s Algerian Folk and Pop
Published May 09, 2014Sublime Frequencies has done well with vintage groove reissues over the past several years, complementing their radio remixes, field recordings and single artist releases by the likes of Omar Souleyman and Group Doueh. The term "vintage groove" is perhaps an overly cynical generalization of a wide swath of music from disconnected countries around the world, but the label's catalog has shown that wah wah pedal and sizzling drum breaks sound pretty sweet whether originating in Algeria, Thailand or India.
This compilation isn't shot through with funk, but much of this music consists of reasonably polished recording techniques that evoke the '70s sound the world over. Rachid & Feti's "Habit En Ich" kicks things off nicely with funky drums, Bo Diddley grooves and dreamy vocals. This last component is key: Omar Zelig's liner notes describe a particular kind of national sadness throughout this music that seems reflected in the melancholy cover art. Just one example is Smail Chouni's "N'Sani N'Sani," which features bluesy organ and a deeply felt yearning that has the ability to touch hearts worldwide. This is a welcome survey of a heretofore-uncompiled era in North African history. (Sublime Frequencies)