Cheika Rimitti — Sidi Mansour
(Absolute ABSOLCD 2, 1994, CD)
by Alain Lachapelle, Published 1996-03-01
Cheika ("crazy") Rimitti began her musical career in about 1936. The horrors of war and the epidemics that ravaged her native region of Oran in Algeria gave the inspiration for her first verses. At 70 years of age now, we find "the mother of rai" alongside King Crimson's Robert Fripp, the Fowler brothers on horns (of Zappa fame), Red Hot Chilli Pepper's bassist Flea, and a few other guests such as David Kendrick on drums and East Bay Ray on guitars. Recorded in Paris and Los Angeles, this album is full of rhythm upon which Rimitti's Arab chanting navigates boldly. All compositions are by Houari Talbi, also saxophone and synth player. The material on this disc may very well be off-limits for a lot of progressive fans, but the album should nevertheless be mentioned because of the Crimson and Zappa link. It is quite special to hear Frippertronics with Rimitti's voice soloing in Arabic fashion, the guitar loops slowly washing away, echoing of the chanting. Or this typical Frippian 1980 guitar rhythmic riff which would be at ease on a Crimson album. All songs rely on a solid groove punctuated fully by the brass section. And there's a sense of daring in here, coming from this lady whose repertory is known to many generations: "a proof that new musical horizons isn't a question of age, but of fresh inspiration." A little warning though: this is really an album of Arabic songs, and as such, the vocals may be a bit too exotic to grasp at first listen. But for the adventurous listener, both the soul of the songs and the musical expertise mentioned above should reveal interesting textures.
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more