Mutamassik: Masri Mokkassar: Definitive Works
Sound Ink

Producer and dj Mutamassik ('stronghold, tenacity' in Arabic) fuses an encyclopedic collection of Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Arabian, and Indian sounds with combustible jungle breaks and fiery hip-hop beats on her first full-length release, Masri Mokkassar: Definitive Works. The album, which pairs unreleased tracks with material issued on various labels during the past eight years, oozes portent in both song titles (“Gulf Rock Mix,” “War Booty”) and content (most literally in the murky “High Alert A'ala Teta” with its war zone sounds of helicopters, voice transmissions, air raid sirens, and industrial machinery). While Mutamassik's sound suggestively evokes themes of war, terrorism, and violence, the music itself rolls out with a seething relentlessness; listeners longing for some peaceful respite will do so in vain. Tracks merge blazing beats and furious scratching with Middle Eastern flutes and swooping strings in “Mawlid” and piercing Arabian horns and 4th Pyramid's rapping in “High Alert A'al Geddu” with beats rooted in hip-hop head-nod (the epic “Babomb”), funk (“Shaky Knees”), and jungle (“Sa'aidi Hardcore”). Hypnotic strings, vocal wails, and snake-charming flutes add to the ominous ambiance while ancient tribal rhythms and thrumming percussion rolls foretell cataclysms on the horizon.

July 2005