Last week Molly Nillson from Berlin was in Belgrade. On the 13th of December-Friday night, French electro duo Acid Arab will perform at KC Grad. Followed by Banda Panda collective and DJ Brka. So, get ready for Paris, Istanbul and Africa style and buy tickets at the door.
Acid Arab is a French duo on a mission to combine what they call “Eastern music” with acid house and techno. It’s a tricky task. How do you take sounds and ideas with such a vast (and vague) set of signifiers and make it anything more than a gimmick? Inspired by a trip to Tunisia, Guido Minisky and Hervé Carvalho set out to do just that, and they’ve brought some of their friends along for the ride.
The duo’s “Theme” is probably the best thing on the EP, and, thankfully, it isn’t just Arabic melodies pasted onto acid house. The duo sends a wafting melody through a sieve of percolating hand percussion, with the acid manifesting in satisfying bursts of harsh resonance. Crackboy tries his hand at attacking the source material directly with a remix of Omar Souleyman’s “Shift Al Mani.” His attempt is wildly unhinged, as the hammering drums struggle to contain the original’s monophonic fury.
Boys In The Oud—a collective that includes Versatile boss DJ Glib’R—get dubby on “Cosmique Arabe.” Like a journey through some trippy Shangri-La, the group places melodies and furiously plucked guitar on a foundation that leans towards disco house. With “Le Bon Vieux Temps,” French dance magnate I:Cube is the only one who takes the predictable route. Essentially boilerplate acid house saddled with Middle Eastern motifs, it’s serviceable but feels like the simplistic pastiche that everyone else managed to avoid.
Dragana Kostica is the Belgrade-based editor in chief and founder of Still in Belgrade art, culture and club scene magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Management in Arts (MA of Arts) and a Bachelor degree in Archaeology.