AraabMuzik AraabMuzikElectronic Dream
It caught me with my pants down, I admit it. It’s one of those CDs that pops up without warning and leaves you frozen: spliff dead on your lips, jaw on the floor. Skilled in the shadow of his MPC (he dominates the machine as if he had tentacles, cutting the portions live, here is the ev idence) and acclaimed as a contract beatmaker (check the recent “Gunz N’ Butta” by Cam’ron and Vado), the new herald of the Dipset family, AraabMuzik, saved his definitive career twist for his first officially released solo effort. What we could sense on the magnificent “Dipset Trance Party” mixtapes is now completely confirmed, by this insane album. Can the tacky melodies of trance be combined with the bad temper of the most ferocious electronic hip-hop? Yes, of course - and the beast of Rhode Island is the absolute master.
Rowdy high notes, swollen basslines and heavy drums fuse their cores with trance melodies and populist club sounds. This is a new mix that nobody has dared to experiment with until now, given the enormous volatility of the combination. Far from falling back on the rap orthodoxy of his beats made for others, Araab takes the plunge with an LP of instrumentals beyond compare. The guy sticks to his MPC like glue – stripping classic club tracks of their tackiest elements, with a rusty machete and with dried blood on his teeth. The epic synths and angelical voice on “Streetz Tonight” would make no sense if it weren’t for the schizophrenic contextualisation our hero practices with his sampler: a miraculous piece with hard beats, street rap programming, orthopaedic bass and a lot of rage. The same goes for the sugary keys of “AT2”, turned into beryllium thanks to an injection of galactic dubstep. Later the female vocals and dodgy Euro-dance of “Let It Go” are rearmed and remoulded by the surgeon through a gangsta attitude.
Let nobody see this album as a whim, a pleasantry or a freak anecdote. Not even as a collection of remixes or a mockery of the original sources (although the pill community may well be pulling their hair out in front of such desecration). “Electronic Dream” is the resolution of an impossible equation in our faces. Epic trance, commercial dance, hard-core and cyberdelica aren’t created - and nor are they destroyed - they are transformed: into dark, grimy and hurtful hip-hop. Inoffensive sounds, mocked ad nauseam are - in the world of Araabmuzik - Molotov cocktails with poisoned nails. The alienation provides us with masterpieces like “Free Spirit” and “Feelin So Hood”, the brutal and Satanic remodelling of Starchaser’s “Feelin’ So High”. I succumb. I doubt if any other electronic record will touch me like this one has this year. It looks like the scar is going to stay for a long, long time.