Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Love the gun you’re with.

Kalshnik Love (geddit??) is the new album from Medhi Haddab’s latest creation Speed Caravan. Haddab was one of the members of DuOud, shortlisted for the Radio 3 World Music Award two years running (2002, 2003 fact fans) which is no mean feat given the competition. He brings a freshness and power to the oud that drags it out of the pigeonhole marked “Indigenous instrument” and slams into BIG ROCK SOUND box. Yeah.

That said his conspirators on this album are no mean sheiks themselves. Pasco Teillet, Hermione Frank and Simo Bouamar pile on the pressure and add the flavours that make this album a contemporary rock thing that I’m sure will be dissed by many in the strokey-chin fraternity of the world music critic forum because it doesn’t adhere to the laid out plan. That’s because it’s a modern rock album, or just a modern album. Like Rachid makes. Funnily enough he’s on here.

That’s not to say that this is all good. There are a couple of tracks that sort of wander about a bit, not really doing much as if to say “well we needed to fill the space up…..a bit” but that’s OK (ever bought a Police album? Shit, they were mainly filler.). They do a couple of covers that hit the mark; their version of The Cure’s Killing an Arab brings an urgency and meaning to an already great song. Rachid Taha appears in the background calling out that he’s the Arab in Camus’ original story, The Outsider, which the song is based upon. It’s angry and direct.

Then there’s the Galvanize cover. The Chemical Brothers’ original was a thing of beauty and now the Speedies make it a scary monster of a track with a blistering chat over from the venerable Spex MC from the late lamented Asian Dub Foundation alongside some background mumbles from an old mate of mine, Paul Kendall. Add voices from Micro Brise le Silence and there’s a storm of spinning, fighting, twisting rhythm that drives the song at speed down Magic Street. Yeah.

Sidestepper’s remix of Daddy Lo throws Colombian groove into an already heady brew to full effect.

It’s a Friday night album. Stick it on before you go out to get in the mood or when you get back and you want to keep the party going. It is the sound of modern rock music; where reggae gave a different base (bass) to punk then modern bands should look to rai to lead them out of the blues rock cul de sac, particularly if they’re French.

The oud has never sounded better.

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