A true fusion of modern electronic music and centuries-old culture, Tunisian collective Arabstazy aim to be the inter-connection between heritage, identity, culture, and digital arts in the Arab world. Immediately evident in each tune from the crew, traditional sounds run deep through power electronic records unbound by genres. Collective founder Mettani explains that the project ‘medium to keep questioning the meaning and the relevance of the supposed Arab unity, by exploring and facing the way the Arab world is perceived, but also how it perceives itself, perceives others and perceives its own perception of itself.’ In short, the goals go much further than just releasing records.
In continuance to the ‘Under Frustration’ series introduced last year by InFine Music, the collective returns with a 10-track VA for volume 2. Marking the halfway point through and expected three-part series, the gritty release ‘allows the listener to walk among Shiite, Shaabi or Stambali lands’. Ominous future techno tunes like OkyDoky’s ‘Mothers Milk’ weave raw analogue tones with powerful Arab percussion. The result is really something that’s never been done before. Spanning a variety of moods throughout the album, ‘Under Frustration’ captures a diverse look at the regional sounds.
Check out Olivier Chantôme’s Photo Series titled ‘Under Frustration‘
Brooklyn duo Saint Abdullah and Phili-based Discowomen member DJ Haram are the most familiar names on the tracklist but also represent an intended selection of Arab’s living in the states. A lot of the artists featured are in exile in countries that have adopted them and shape their music consciousness such as Saint Abdullah from Iran to Brooklyn; Khan El Rou from Syria to Sweden; Hello Psychaleppo that moved to Minnesota; and Nazal that left Tunisia for Poland and then France.
It’s clear that Mettani and the collective as a whole are bringing a powerful message about the youth, culture, and timeless art of the Arab region. They grow and continue to expand with artists who want to express a traditional voice with a new twist. Keep watch from this exciting group from a region often overlooked in underground music.