Thursday, November 6, 2014

El Khalfi Bouchaib - Country vs. Auto-Tune

Here's another tape from my summer 2012 trip. I believe I picked this up in Beni Mellal, though the longstanding Sawt Ennachat label is out of Casablanca. The music sounds Mellali to me - heavy on the zaêriya.

On first listen, this sounded to me like pretty standard early 21st century countrified chaabi. However, a couple of cool things stood out on additional listens:
  • The rhythm is pretty kicking, though it stays pretty mechanical throughout. However, the darbuka player gets pretty OUT in some places, embellishing all over the place. (See track 3.)
  • The viola is not auto-tuned, and it hits a few unusual notes/intervals that sound great in contrast to the otherwise perfect pitches. (See track 4)
  • Bouchaib's country vocal phrasing and embellishment often seem to subvert the auto-tune on his voice. The shikha, on the other hand, is auto-tuned to the max. (See tracks 2 and 6)
  • Track 7 ditches the auto-tune for some straight-up pitch-non-perfect zaêri goodness! 

Mastering note: Track 4 fades out quickly at the end of side 1 of my tape. I was able to find an mp3 of the full track over at and grafted it onto the end of my version. So the last 6 minutes of track 4 comes from that source. (Excuse the obnoxious voiceover at 6:30.)

El Khalfi Bouchaib - Ezzine Ihebbel (Sawt Ennachat cassette)
01) Bin Ezzriba u Lhendia
02) Ezzaêri
03) Ba3 Btata
04) Ezzaêri
05) El Âgra
06) Ezzine Ihebbel
07) Ennegara

Get it all here.

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