RADAR :: NOTHING IS REAL
When I first received a copy of this CD, I was almost determined to not like it, even before the packaging had been removed. The reason being, that the label on which it was released, Bar de Lune, has been purveyor of such titles as Kharma, Krishna and Bombay Beats. As if those names were not enough, the covers were adorned with images of Ganesh, Krishna and Lakshmi (who, oddly enough, seemed to be placed in the middle of a fish tank of some sort). Who is to say that the blue-skinned Hindu deity would be lounging to Banco de Gaia and Boards of Canada when spending some alone time with His consort? Wouldn't Cheb I Sabbah's heavenly-inspired trilogy be more his cup o' divine chai?
But after deciding not to judge a book by its cover, or in this case, an album by its record label, I half-heartedly popped Nothing Is Real into my Discman and what followed was just under an hour of the most stunning North African & Middle Eastern downbeat electronica I had heard since - well, forever. Track 2 was hardly over when I was overcome by the urge to find out who was behind this almost flawless album. So, naturally I consulted the Omnipotent One (better known as Google) and proceeded to read about Francis Peyrat and Christophe Goze, the duo known as Radar. Both are London-based French producers extraordinaire, who've been rockin' the casbah for years with their solo projects, and here was their near-universally acclaimed debut disc.
For those 50 minutes, my auditory senses were enveloped in traditional African/Arabic instrumentation, stylish electronic rhythms and straight-up sexy grooves. You're hooked from the opening darbouka beats of "Arabiant" onwards, which gives way to the tabla-fied "Caravane." Don't expect to hear any smoky Eastern female vocals à la Natacha Atlas or any dance numbers - the most club friendly this album gets is on the quasi-house stylings of "Yep Yep." If "Ya Rayah" sounds vaguely familiar its because a few years ago, Algerian pop star Rachid Taha's version was all over the airwaves, the eclectic ones anyway. Already a classic in the Arabtronica genre, "Sirocco" shows up here in a remixed state, flamenco guitar and all, and is a standout among an already impressive collection of tracks.
Find your own consort - preferably someone cute, a quiet space and press play. Oh, and thank us later for getting you some nookie.