Sneaker - Algerian Raï

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  • Uncanny Valley's Rat Life sub-label has always been a primarily DJ-focused outlet. On his Algerian Raï EP, Dresden producer and Uncanny Valley alum Sneaker rigidly sticks to that credo, and perhaps more than necessary given the record's rich backstory. This is Sneaker's interpretation of a form of folk music that originated in the Algerian city of Oran in the 1920s. Musically, the form leans on "pottery drums and end-blown flutes," but its main focus is its singers. Both male and female vocalists will typically deal with gritty social issues, rejecting the "refined, classical poetry of traditional Algerian music." Given the clear importance of vocals in raï music, it's disappointing that none actually make it onto this EP. Recent releases have shown that traditional African vocals and European house and techno can mix well, and it would have helped Algerian Raï to explore that. Regardless, there's a fair bit to enjoy. The title track is the most fleshed-out offering, its howling Bedouin chords and churning, acidic bassline sounding like an Africanised John Carpenter soundtrack. The other two tracks are more functional, though "Haunted Samba" starts with plenty of texture around its drum loops. Those elements shift like stormy weather, from whistling keys through electrified cracks and intensifying bass roars. "Disco Sidekick," on the other hand, is a simple, snare-heavy drum track with no flair.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Algerian Rai B1 Haunted Samba B2 Disco Sidekick