Singapore markets closed
  • Straits Times Index

    3,192.17
    -17.55 (-0.55%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,156.84
    -6.42 (-0.15%)
     
  • Dow

    33,968.33
    -109.30 (-0.32%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    13,920.41
    +5.64 (+0.04%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    56,143.29
    -640.38 (-1.13%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,274.93
    +40.51 (+3.28%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    6,922.60
    -77.48 (-1.11%)
     
  • Gold

    1,771.40
    +0.80 (+0.05%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    63.55
    +0.17 (+0.27%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.6030
    +0.0020 (+0.12%)
     
  • Nikkei

    29,100.38
    -584.99 (-1.97%)
     
  • Hang Seng

    29,135.73
    +29.58 (+0.10%)
     
  • FTSE Bursa Malaysia

    1,607.57
    +7.28 (+0.45%)
     
  • Jakarta Composite Index

    6,038.32
    -14.22 (-0.23%)
     
  • PSE Index

    6,500.42
    +40.66 (+0.63%)
     

Guedra Guedra: Vexillology review – splicing Moroccan culture with sub-bass

Ammar Kalia
·2-min read


From the spiritual polyrhythms of gnawa to the looping vocalisations of Sufism and the percussive tessellations of Berber folk, the world of north African cultures meet in the music of Morocco. Producer Abdellah M Hassak, AKA Guedra Guedra, has taken these rhythms as the core of his work. His name comes from the Berber dance music performed on the guedra drum; his debut EP, 2020’s Son of Sun, explored these diffuse roots through a dancefloor filter, with added field recordings and electronic Midi sequencing, a junglist collage that straddles tradition and contemporary dance musics.

Hassak’s debut album, Vexillology, extends this idea over the course of 13 propulsive and complex tracks. Seven Poets samples a group chant over birdsong and snappy hi-hats that evoke footwork’s stacked rhythms – encompassing the dancefloors of Chicago and the desert-scape of Berber song. The Chicago sound also leaves its mark on the bouncy Stampede Step with its shrill flute melody and growling bassline, and Aura samples the chants of the Zayane mountain community: chopping their circular incantations over rumbling sub-bass, the effect renders them as verse and a kind of crowd sound.

Instead of simply pasting decontextualised field recordings over bright electronics, Hassak integrates these folk elements into the mix and allows them to breathe. He incorporates the clatter of the bendir drum on the rollicking Aura, a smattering of hand claps over the house piano of Cercococcyx, and the shrill arpeggios of the taghanimt flute on the drum machine-heavy 40’ Feet. In this way, Hassak weaves tradition into his own interpretations of dance, allowing space for the acoustic to interact with the electronic, not remixing the former beyond the point of recognition (a common pitfall in this type of work). On Vexillology, Hassak extrapolates the underlying rhythms of the north African diaspora to present a new realisation of this enticing, pervasive pulse.

<a href="https://guedraguedra.bandcamp.com/album/vexillology">Vexillology by Guedra Guedra كدرة كدرة</a>

Also out this month

An affecting and remarkable set of field recordings from the Ghanaian “witch camps”, where women who are accused of witchcraft seek refuge, is released under the title I’ve Forgotten Now Who I Used to Be (Six Degrees Records). Forlorn, tender vocals mix with clattering percussion and choral refrains to provide a glimpse into the musical cultures of these largely undocumented communities. Bahraini experimental producer Sarah Haras warps a selection of Khaleeji folk music in a thick wave of distortion, drones and textural sound design on her LP Mirage. By turns ambient and aggressive, Angolan rap duo Ikoqwe release their debut album, The Beginning, the Medium, the End and the Infinite. Highlight Pele places the pair’s languorous flow over an infectious, synth-inflected beat.