2021 was a huge year in music for the region. We’ve seen many artists rise out of nowhere and establish themselves, others coming back from retirement, and other highly-regarded artists releasing tracks constantly the way they should. Last year also saw a huge abundance of albums and EPs being released across all genres and beyond, from acoustic and experimental rap, to the wide catalog of electronic music subgenres and more. Ramadan is always a dry month in music as artists usually hold back their releases until after the holy month, so we’ve compiled a list of insanely-produced and well thought-out albums that you might have missed in the sea of releases during 2021.
Mulid El Magnon – Yunis
Yunis is a mastermind when it comes to psychedelic-inspired shaabi tunes. His latest album ‘Mulid El-Magnoun’ sees him exploring Sufism and Egyptian folk sonics with personalized twists of his own, creating a coherent, unique piece of sonic aesthetic.
Gore - Hyas
Morocco’s widely regarded label, Casa Voyager, offered a brilliant 4-track EP, courtesy of electrifying producer Hyas. The EP sees Hyas uncovering an exhilarating fusion of footwork, juke, and speed garage with meteoric productions.
Tenets of Forgetting - MSYLMA & Ismael
Enigmatic Saudi musician MSYLMA and ecstatic Egyptian producer Ismael join forces in this unorthodox piece of work. The duo blended Arabic poetry and Sufi-inspired singing with distorted sonics and grainy textures in fine fashion.
After Hours - NOVO
All-rounded Egyptian musician NOVO’s After Hours is an emotional rollercoaster, boasting a journey of love, loss, and heartbreak. The singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, producer, and audio-engineer goes all out in his project, projecting his smooth R&B vocals over a sea of dulcet melodics and harmonics.
Safala – Liliane Chlela
Lebanese experimentalist Liliane Chlela’s ‘Safala’ album is a crazed-out, uneasy listen for the listeners who are confined with the softer and more commercial music sounds. She offers nonuniform productions, disregarding the typical arrangement format, and opting for a more challenging sonic experience to the experimental enthusiasts.
Cosmic Debris - Wolf Fang Midi
Consisting of British producer and multi-instrumentalist Shunus with self proclaimed “ambient queen” J!N, Wolf Fang Midi encapsulates the colorful era of the mid-80’s and early 90’s. Their album ‘Cosmic Debris’ is a synthesizer heaven, boasting a retro-futurist outlook, capturing the essence of synth-pop, synth-wave sonics.
LUNO – Blood Culture
The Pakistani-American band Blood Cultures offer a mellifluous take on psychedelic dream-pop in their album ‘LUNO’. The album is dreamy, euphoric, and tantalizing to say the least, sounding very much like your favorite classic rock album, but with a modern take and a more psychedelic and grainy approach.
Qormozy - Malaaz
Egyptian rock band Malaaz keep it heavy and distorted yet meaningful and sentimental. Their latest album ‘Qormozy’, is a staple to how a well-rounded rock album should sound like. Keeping it diverse, the band prooves their diversity in tackling different sounds of rock music.