NAAB :: Salam Haleikoum
NAAB is a conglomerate of twelve musicians of Arabic/French extraction, and with the of release "Salaam Haleikoum" they have made a major contribution to the "underground" of Arabic electronic music. This is one of those efforts where you can hear they were doing something different. There's only a handful of producers who get it in their minds to invent an Arabic/Drum & Bass style. Before this album was released it seemed the genre was secluded to formulas that have been widely re-produced. Be it house, breaks or downtempo, there wasn't a lot of genre diversity. Here on this import, there are a variety of beats, but what really stands out is the hard hitting drum and bass. What's really great about these tracks is that they can be taken into the clubs and be fully enjoyed by the hardcore & snobby Drum N Bass headz.
The strongest influences found in several tracks are the "intelligent" or "ambient" D&B stylings made popular by Good Looking Records out of the U.K. The D&B loops were clearly thought out to avoid the minimalist rhythms commonly found in today's popular Jungle releases. Here on this album the D&B has the basic structure, yet it explores other abstract patterns, which compliment the tabla and other instruments. "Tamghra Nouchen" is a prime example of the musical alchemy produced here. The track starts of with the gembri (a three string bass, similar sounding to the oud) and the bendir (a frame drum which played here sounds a lot like the tabla) then is morphed by the sounds of the bass and horns. And all of a sudden you're rocking your head as the hard drum and bass kicks in.
A common theme stays present nearly in all of the tracks and that influence is jazz. Although it's a small thread in the vast tapestry created here, it tends to create a chill vibe to the tracks. A little xylophone here, some keyboard work there, it works overall. But there are a few elements that are quite annoying. For example "Fondu" and "Back by Dope Demand" are the same song, just remixed. "L'Immortalite" is a 50 second song, which is the intro to the next song "Amour & Amitie" which is a brilliant idm/electro/hip-hop with some Arabic vocals tied in. Then we have "Khemisset" which is a two minute D&B track that is basically the continuation of the first tack. Overall, the pros far outweigh the cons, especially when the pros' sound this good.
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