- A former child soldier in the Sudanese rebel army, Emmanuel Jal is a 30-year-old rapper with a big career in Africa, an appearance at Live 8 under his belt, and a terrific 2005 album with northern Sudanese crooner Abdel Gadir Salim titled Ceasefire (a radical gesture, given the two musicians were from rival factions). But these remixes of "Kuar" by Henrik Schwarz and Olof Dreijer of the Knife make Jal a natural for the underground dance floor. Part of it is that Jal's got a voice that doesn't strain for effect, and that assurance works nicely with both Schwarz's slow-burning deep house and Dreijer's bouncier, more percussive version.
Of course, what makes "Kuar" first-rank remix material (just ask the many DJs who've charted it) isn't Jal solo so much as his interaction with what sounds like a multi-tracked female counterpart (Jal is also doubled); she who also sings the chorus. Schwarz stretches out the vocal interplay over an unhurried groove to give each element a good kind of tension. Dreijer, on the other hand, concentrates hard on the femme chorus; the track builds around a stutter-drop rhythm heavy with hints of Africa and samba, which cater to the chorus's cadences nicely. It's the more immediate of the two sides, and the friskiest.
A Kuar (Henrik Schwarz Remix)
B Kuar (Olof Dreijer Remix)