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Ahmed Malek was one of the most important musicians of the Algerian scene of the 1970s. His soundtrack works that were composed for various Algerian movies of the time fuse Arabic influences with jazz, psych and funk influences. Dark cineastic soundscapes meet african Jazz at times reminiscent of Mulatu. Original copies of his vinyl releases have been sold for enormous amounts. For this release we combined the strongest tracks from his releases with a selection of unreleased material straight from the families archive. Introduction: I still remember the first time I heard Ahmed Malek. It was 2012. Back then I didn’t know much about Arabic music, but I was about to leave Berlin for a couple of weeks to go to Tunisia. I was working as a project manager for a music recoding session which ended up being released by Jakarta Records as the “Sawtuha” release. I knew I would have some time off during my stay and I was certain that I would dedicate some of this time to diggin. I asked some people whether they knew of any titles that I should look for. Roskow, who also ended up re-mastering this release, told me about an Algerian composer called Ahmed Malek whose music was also released in Tunisia. Fast forward three years: Arabic records have become my number one hobby and luckily I got my hands on a copy of Ahmed Malek’s “Musique Originale De Films” album. I already knew some of the tracks but listening to the music the way it was originally released, and not as a crappy Youtube version, made me fall in love with Malek’s compositions all the more. It manages to create this very special mood: melancholic and reflective, emotional and touching, but never depressing. Even without having seen any of the pictures created for this, it immediately brings visuals to one’s imagination. Around that time I became captivated with the idea of reissuing some of Ahmed Malek’s music. I knew some people had tried to locate his family but, but with no success. In the end it was an incredible amount of luck that made it possible for you to read these words and listen to this record. I had a DJ gig in Beirut playing old Arabic records and I mentioned my passion for Ahmed Malek’s music to a friend. She said she knew one person in Algier, and as much as it would be a shot in the dark, she could ask her if she had an idea of how to find Malek’s family. Two weeks went by before I heard back, and what I got was incredibly good news. Her Algerian friend was the neighbor of Ahmed Malek’s daughter! I’m not a spiritual person, but it felt like the universe wanted to see this release happen.
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8 tracks of raw Arabic funk music, none of these have ever been reissued before. So far Fadoul (or Fadaul, or Faddoul, the transcribtion of his name to latin letters differs)& his music had not been rediscovered, as a matter of fact most of those songs still left no trace whatsoever in the world wide web. It took us 2 years and countless trips to Morocco to find the artists family to license the release from them. Vinyl and CD edition come with liner notes, unseen live photos and lyrics translations. “There was one record in particular that caught my attention. It was by a band called "Fadaul et les Privileges“ and mentioned James Brown in the writing credits of the song "Sid Redad“ on the a-side. Needless to say my expectations were high. The first time I heard the record I was blown away. A cover of James Brown’s "Papa got a brand new bag“ sung in arabic and backed by a rawly recorded three piece band. It’s hard to describe the music without having listened to it, but as time went by I somehow ended up summarizing it as Arabic funk played with a punk attitude. A description, that I feel, comes fairly close. Soon I became obsessed by the record but nobody seemed to know anything about the vinyl or the artists, even google didn’t help. A true gem forgotten about through the passages of time. I kept on traveling to Morocco trying to find infos about the artists, which did not end up being fruitful during the first couple of trips. What kept me going was the fact that over the course of the next years I kept on finding different records by Fadoul, in the end a total of four. They all had the raw sound aesthetic of "Sid Redad“. Energetic performances, a mighty voice and a very lively atmosphere that was preserved in the recordings.” “Sid Redad” has gotten plays on BBC, Radio Nova and more, our Habibi Funk mixes have been featured by The Guardian, Radio Nova, Waxpoetics, okayplayer.com, konbini.fr and many more.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
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