If you read my blogposts, you know I'm not always a fan of the keyboard bass that became prevalent in the mid 1990s in Moroccan chaâbi music. Full disclosure - I am a bass player, so my personal preference is for the sound of the bass guitar, operated by a specialist in that instrument, rather than the sound of a keyboard bass, operated by the left pinky finger of a keyboard player who is concentrating on various chord pads and synthetic voice timbres.
That being said, a good keyboardist knows how to excel in all areas, and I often set myself up to eat my own words, so here's a really great chaâbi tape from Said Ould El Houate that uses the trappings of early 21st century chaâbi production to good effect. Yes, it has keyboard bass, but it's in the pocket, funky, and not monotonous. Yes, it has autotuned vocals, but the female backup vocals sound awesome that way. Yes, it has applause from a fake audience connecting each track to the next, but it actually makes for nice segues. Above all, the musical textures remain rich, between Said's grainy vocals and scratchy viola, and the occasional percussive oud or qarqaba to kick the energy up to the next level.
We featured an early, fully acoustic tape of Said Ould El Houate a few weeks ago, but he really made his name with recordings that sound like this one. Enjoy!
Production Said El Houate Vision cassette
late 2000s/early 2010s
1) Bnat El Koliya
2) Waleft Chrab والفت الشراب
3) Ktab Liya Nerâak كتاب ليا نرعاك
4) Al Âita Al Âmaala العيطة العمالة
5) Wahda Tlouhek Lwahda وحدة تلوحك لوحدة
6) Kob Sek Alach Nwasek كب السيك
7) Dawaqni Lhoub Aâdabou دوقني الحب اعذابو
8) Al Saken Al Ârbi Al Bouhali الساكن العربي البوهالي