Last weekend saw the release of Jdid - Acid Arab's newest LP with independent record label Crammed Discs. Established in 2012 by founders Guido Minisky and Herve Carvalho, the outfit expanded to encompass Pierrot Casanova and Nicolas Borne while creating their debut album, Musique de France. More recently, Acid Arab's go-to keyboardist for live sets, Kenzi Bourras, has been fully incorporated into the band. Bourras's electric-Algerian instrumentation is Jdid's linchpin.Featuring vocals from Algerian artists Radia Menel, Sofiane Saidi, Amel Wahby and Cheikha Hadjla - on top of Kenzi Bourra's keyboard and Cem Yildiz's saz -, Jdid is in line with the band's long-term mission to deepen the dialogue between the northern, eastern and southern coasts of the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, the album's organic fusion of oriental melodies and originally-western techno beats is testimony to Acid Arab's aversion to reinventing oriental music or to creating a new category of eastern electronic music.
Kickstarting the album is "Staifia" - an eerie, techno track featuring Algerian artist Radia Menel's fluctuating vocals and zapping laser-gun synths. The album proceeds with the highway-tunnel jams "Electrique Yarghol" and "Club DZ," before plunging into a retrospective exploration of the highly-anticipated, futuristic rai sounds of 1920s Algeria. Indeed, what follows is the distinguished rai artist Sofian Saidi's "Rimitti Dor," as well as an electro-rai banger - "Rajel" - produced by Ammar 808, and "Soulan," an Afrobeat-rai fusion from rising Nigerien talent Les Filles d'Illighadad.