Following up his Ring Road EP, which dropped in March of this year, Palace of Light is altogether much more subdued take on the jazzy, lo-fi hip-hop sounds explored on the Chicago-based, Egyptian producer Madeena's predecessor. Leaning away from trap sensibilities of this generation, and more towards the sample based boom-bap of the 90’s and 2000s, this latest effort is rife with blissful piano melodies, reverb-soaked saxophone riffs, and hard hitting percussion sure to rattle any sound system if turned up loud enough.
The choice of album art, an image from Louis Armstrong’s 1961 visit to Egypt, as well as recurring skits throughout the EP, reveal Madeena’s deep attachment and love for his home country. “[Palace of Light] sonically reflects the emotional spectrum that reminds me of home. Some of the melodies are homely, warm and introspective. They attempt to draw on your heartstrings, and make you think of the things that are close to you and close to home,” Madeena told Scene Noise.
Palace of Light includes a number of homages to the late, great actor Omar Sharif, described by Madeena as “applicable sentiments and verbiage that still resonate from his work today.”
Scattered across the EP’s 17 minute duration, keen listeners will notice numerous references and skit’s sampled from Sharif’s filmography. “These strong philosophical, as well as egotistical statements, are kind of representative, to me, of a mindset that a lot of individuals back home have. This sentiment is embodied in a dramatic format, in this ski - it reminds me of Egypt. Songs like 'Paradise' mean a lot to me.”