The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

A Baker's Dozen Special! Acid Arab's Guide To MENA Bangers
Jeremy Allen , December 4th, 2019 15:32

Jeremy Allen sits down with Acid Arab for a whirlwind tour through their essential belters from the Middle East and North Africa


Ammar 808 - 'Kahl el inin (feat. Sofiane Saidi)' (Glitter Beat Records)
Guido: This is our two beloved Sofianes: Sofiane Saidi, who sang on our single 'La Hafla' in 2016, and is now becoming a new hero in Raï music. Sofyann Ben Youssef, aka Ammar 808, released the most powerful album of 2018. His LP is so great that it left us traumatised for weeks. We chose this particular tune because both these artists are featured on our new album.

So Ammar 808 is a Belgian producer with Tunisian roots and the album that blew our minds is called ‘Maghreb United’. He's found a unique way of creating music from mixing beats and electronic grooves, and if you take every part separately you have the feeling that it wouldn’t work, but together there's this perfection. It's impossible to understand how he does it. But instead of trying to compete with him we asked him: 'Do you want to make a track together?’ and he said ‘yes’.

Hervé: Yeah, he's blending traditional grooves; trance, dance, ritual grooves with big bass production. It’s a really important album for us.

Guido: And Sofiane Saidi is one of three singers featured on this album, and he's also the singer on ‘La Halfa’ on the first album. He's a great singer and a lot of media calls him the new prince of Raï music. Not only that but he's become a great friend too. We were with him yesterday actually [Laughs].