Various Artists

Under Frustration Volume 1
Various Artists
Under Frustration Volume 1

Eye/ear-opening compilation of contemporary electronic music from the Arab World, put together by the Tunisian collective Arabstazy. I can barely make it to breakfast without accidentally saying something culturally insensitive or ill-informed or presumptuous, so I’ll quote Arabtazy’s manifesto for the Under Frustration series (two further volumes are on the way) directly: “This musical journey stands for the diversity of this scene, and deconstructs the occidental perceptions that sees the Arab World as a culturally united and homogeneous entity. It is a manifesto for the burgeoning wave of post-revolution futurism…Following the Arab Spring events that brought a major change to the Maghrebi cultural and artistic ecosystem, the collective explores how the Arab World is perceived and perceives itself, and lays the foundations of what could be part of a new wave of North African and Middle Eastern futurism." 

Many of the tracks here marry explicitly local song-structures and tonalities to modern digital processing, with often dazzling and disorienting results, but the most compelling pieces for me are those that are less easily placed: the fizzing, popping, Pole-esque techno-dub of Ismael’s ‘2310’, Shinigami’s radgy house deconstruction ‘FGTN’ (which could easily be mistaken for Tribe Of Colin or Heith), or Muudra’s collision of amplified field recordings with minimal 808-driven hip-hop on ‘Hemshin Breath'. 




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