Féras Chatila is a Cairo-based composer, singer, and songwriter. Taking his time between releases, Féras dropped only three songs in the span of nearly three years. His first was 2021’s Feels Different, a song that’s shimmery, immaculately produced, featuring funky drum and bass grooves. His second release was Lied To You. A sensible fusion of everyday-pop production with unfamiliar sounding, jazz-inspired chord progressions made that single memorable, if a little left-field. Masafat is by far Féras’s most ambitious undertaking to date.
In the song Masafat, Chatila takes on the role of a community leader, and it features an impressive array of talented artists, from industry greats such as Dina El Wedidi on vocals to up-and-coming indie sensation Pink Seasalt. Composed and produced by Chatila, the track also received creative input from Youssra El Hawary, Hadi Birajakli, and Dè Von, as well as guitar recording and production by Ali Hosam and Elian, respectively.
The impressive amount of coordination on Chatila’s part pays off. Masafat is a gorgeous piece of sophisticated indie pop that kept revealing more layers to me with more and more listens. The minimalist rhythm guitar track, ambient and mid-air, is highlighted by Dina El Wedidi’s trademark melodic delivery, that’s at once playful and wistful. El Wedidi’s largely vibrato-free technique plays well off of the minimalist rhythm guitar, creating a cruising-at-a-low-altitude sensation that’s soft and pillowy. A short interlude is introduced with an abrupt change in the progression. Injecting a sinister sense of drama that gets amplified by a dissonant, screeching violin, the change heralds in an electronic groove that heightens the tension with its jittering, start-stop nature for a handful of bars before releasing it all with a return to the familiar progression and El Wedidi’s comforting vocal motifs.
Masafat puts Féras Chatila in the spotlight. If not for his hi-fidelity composition and production skills, then for his networking and coordination. Drenched is tasteful reverb, laid-back and soothing, yet not completely devoid of tension or drama, thanks to an intelligent middle section, and with touching words and a fitting feature on the vocal duty, Masafat is a piece of music that excels on almost everything it attempts.