Various 1970s Algerian Proto Rai Underground

Algeria's Rai was one of the first popular musics of the Arabic countries to achieve global recognition during the initial years of world music marketing. By the time that had happened, it was a fully developed style: heavy electronics, guitars, drum kits and drum machines were ready to interlock with similar configurations in other types of global pop. This collection shows its prior history, with distinguishing characteristics entering the music one by one. Rai was the music of modernity in Algeria, and the track "Li Maandouche L'Auto" served notice in the early '70s, with the modern instrumentation of trumpets and what sounds like a Farfisa wailing away over aggressive derbouka playing. The following track, which translates to "I'm Still Getting Drunk," introduces a rhythm that wouldn't be out of place in post-punk England, and the sloppy sentiment of the song feels universal. But it's hard to ignore Cheb Zergui's "Ana Dellali" as the album highlight, with its nasty wah and tremolo guitar entering the music for the first time, underlining Sublime Frequencies' fascination with amplified strings from North Africa. Once again, the SF crew have provided insight into a revolutionary pop form on its own terms. (Sublime Frequencies)