As the fervent quest for the obscure continues, somehow music from the Arab world has managed to remain largely niche. There are a few people pushing the sound. The Habibi Funk outfit are perhaps the most well known and the Ma3azef show on NTS is definitely worthy of your time. Still, Arabic music has yet to be embraced in the way music from many other areas of the world have been. Many playlists claiming to be focused on the Middle East as a whole end up being almost entirely Turkish (or even veering off towards Iran and India). There is a lot of great Turkish stuff and perhaps that’s part of why the Arabic stuff gets overlooked but there’s more to it than that. Quite simply, searching for Arabic music is far more difficult because the alphabet is different. This might seem trite but it is definitely an obstacle.
Every month, George Hysteric takes time away from running the “strange music from beyond” Facebook group to create a playlist for SSFB from the group’s extensive music library. Here are his picks for July.
CTI – “Elemental 7”
Creative Technology Institute was a side project of Throbbing Gristle members Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti. This piece comes from the VHS tape released in 1983. A soundtrack was released the following year.
Ryuichi Sakamoto – “A Rain Song”
A previously unknown song to me, from one of the world’s greatest living musicians.
Colin Potter – “Mainland”
UK musician and engineer who has worked with artists such as Nurse With Wound and Current 93. He also has a prolific solo career since the early 80s and is still active today.
Manuela Moura Guedes – “Flor Sonhada”
Beautiful and haunting new wave song from Portugal.
Eden – “Free”
Melancholic pop/rock song, could have almost been an AOR hit but somehow too weird and off-key.
Harry Case – “Air Dancer”
Subtle and elegant song from his wonderfully smooth and highly sought-after 1989 album In a Mood.