- Sub-heavy, UK-inspired techno with enough breaks to satisfy jungle heads.
- The club music trickling out of Egypt's capital city leans towards bold shows of experimentalism. Talents such as ZULI, 3Phaz, ABADIR and Kareem Lotfy dissect folk melodies, glitchy synths, Arabic rap and drone into mutant shapes, creating truly unique sounds native to their home ground. Hassan Abou Alam, another of Cairo's rising stars, has chosen a different path. Equally compelling but more straightforward, his work is rooted in UK club music, favouring crystalline breakbeat techno, atmospheric jungle and dubby synthlines over amorphous, genre-bending productions.
Alam first made waves on the international circuit in 2017 with a stellar live performance for RBMA that featured traditional musicians from the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor. Since then, his choppy style of broken beat, which encompasses house and ambient in addition to darker strains of electronic music, has led to records on labels across the globe, such as Rhythm Section International and Rakete. His latest EP, It Spills, lands on Naive after last year's appearance on the digital-only Naivety label.
With precise drum programming and twitchy rhythms, It Spills feels perky yet defiant with a tough attitude. "Khamaseen" is the EP's most obviously jungle-influenced track, with '90s-style breaks and IDM textures. Others carry the weight of UK bass as they move across genres, channelling the atmospheric spirit of acts like Desert Sound Colony and Ciel. On "All Used Up" and the title track, wobbly low-end takes us back to the days of early UK tech house (and garage). "Unkindled," on the other hand, descends into deep-space minimal techno with low-pitched vocals and fuzzy acid. The staggered drums keep it fresh while a spongy bassline adds serious dub pressure.
Playful and raw with enough chug to keep both techno and bass heads happy, It Spills is instantly likeable and should increase Alam's profile beyond Egypt. "Unfortunately, most people in Cairo don't appreciate my music," he told Resident Advisor. "People here are more into minimal, melodic techno and the more commercial side of things... Over the past couple of years, I've been connecting more with fans abroad and it just puts a huge smile on my face to see my music making an impact on people across the globe." Based on his penchant for punchy arrangements and spacious sound design, it's safe to assume that the Cairo artist will keep his international fanbase grooving for the near future.
01. It Spills
05. All Used Up