V/A – 1970’s Algerian Proto-Rai Underground

There are few musicians around more polished than Khaled but if you have ever wanted to peel away the sophistication and the years to reveal the raw, young heart of north African rock and roll, this is your moment


What is it with ports? New Orleans, Liverpool, Dakar, Rio, Havana, New York, London and Oran. Cultures clash, a dash of illicit sex and drugs, a thousand deals and a whiff of revolution and diesel in the air.
In this environment, and as Algeria wrested itself from colonial control in a uniquely brutal war, musicians in Oran assert their modernity with trumpets and later electric guitars, their lyrics veer away from the sublime to the everyday: getting drunk, forbidden love, owning a car (indeed the opening track uses a novelty car horn for its melodic hook).
These eight tracks from five bands of the early 70s are rough, incessant and catchy. If their social catalyst is much like rock and roll, the underground nature of the music and the DIY ethic foreshadows the punk era.
Technology will play its part in this story. Less the moment when something is invented, but that often overlooked and more important moment when it becomes cheap and common enough to be put to uses its inventors in white coats never dreamed of. Singles are pressed and distributed, extending the reach of the music beyond a few clubs and leaving traces for history to get its claws into. This collection is just such a moment frozen. Fittingly there is a limited edition of 1500 vinyl copies in thick vinyl and gatefold sleeve.
1970’s Algerian Proto-Rai Underground
Sublime Frequencies
LP SF045
Out now from: FORCED EXPOSURE

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