Denmark-based Tunisian producer Amine Ennouri (a.k.a NURI) released his second full-length LP IRUN on November 6th via Paris-based North African/Mediterranean record label Shouka. The mysterious producer, who performs anonymously under an elaborate beaded mask, is best known for his bass-heavy take on the percussive musical heritage of North Africa and The Sahel, tastefully combining them with influences from afro-house, UK-bass, baile, and juke/footwork.
At a preliminary listen IRUN seems perfectly tuned to fit in with NURI’s bombastic live sets, allowing ample room for improvisation amongst the clearly dance-floor oriented arrangements. That being said, IRUN is far from a hurried assortment of club-focused bangers, and upon repeat listens the true subtleties of the record become apparent; meticulously arranged polyrhythms evolve over the course of each track, and the sampled drums hit with a full body and trance-inducing presence that’s immediately evocative of the live setting they were recorded in.
Amongst this flurry of intricately layered percussions, all sourced from archival field recordings and used with the permission of their original artists, IRUN immediately stands out as a sequel to NURI’s debut album Drup, taking the hypnotic rhythms of its predecessor and dialing up the blistering energy to even higher levels, never letting up save for brief moments of (relative) reprieve like on the tracks ‘A7mer’ and ‘Yiri’, which slow the tempo down and bring in layers of organic, wooden melodies.
The entire record is also pristinely mixed, with each sonic element fitting together tightly with a grounded familiarity, rather than ear shattering harshness usually signature in similar percussion-heavy productions -- no doubt also due to the work of IRUN’s mastering engineer, Benoit Courribet.
Across the length of the record, it becomes clear NURI understands, respects, and pays tribute to an entire range of indigenous musical traditions from across the North African coastline and the Sahel region, drawing upon their core sonic elements and reworking them in a modern context, impressively neither abandoning all semblance of cultural identity, nor remaining too rigidly rooted in the past.
IRUN is available to stream and purchase on bandcamp, with a limited run of 200 vinyl copies shipping out later this November.
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