– THE MILITARY COUP –
Abdulaziz Louis is from Kuwait.
And that’s just about as much as I know about him.
It would appear that he is very popular (365k Instagram followers, nearly 4m streams of this track on YouTube), has one major album (2015’s Qessat Hob) but, otherwise, releases a lot of one-off tracks, often as collaborations.
Everything else that is written about him online is in a language I cannot speak and written in an alphabet I cannot even begin to interpret.
So, yeah… I like to make my life easy.
Believe me, I’ve tried reviewing Nijma Mashoura several times over the last few weeks and given up as, without any source material, it’s pretty difficult to do.
But I think this song is so great, so grand, so gloriously unpredictable that I had to cover it.
Listen to those war drums that open it up. Listen to the chants. We’re only 20 seconds in and I’m just waiting for our mate Maximus to give the command to ‘unleash hell’.
But, what’s this? 21 seconds in we’ve switched to some kind of Ojos de Brujo-baiting Flamenco/Arabic fusion, complete with rapid hand claps (probably raised dramatically high above the head) and before the two-minute mark is up we’ve got some Mars Volta-style stabs complete with Omar Rodríguez-López shredding over the top… WTAF?!
Knitting the whole thing together seamlessly is Louis’ fantastic voice; a voice that reminds me of my favourite Raï musicians, despite the fact that there are a good few miles between Algeria – Raï’s spiritual home – and Kuwait.
The end result is a track that feels heavy with drama, yet is delivered with extreme lightness of touch. A powerful piece that transcends borders both geographical and – thankfully – linguistic.
Nijma Mashoura is self-released and out now.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –