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Album Review: Habibi Funk: An Eclectic Selection by Various Artists
Very Good, Based on 2 Critics
Pitchfork - 76 Based on rating 7.6/10
In an interview with The Believer, Sublime Frequencies founder Alan Bishop described a vast difference between Western and other cultures. "There's a thing about 'new is everything,' old is unwanted," he said, going on to add that while he fetishized these cultures' old music, he realized that in locales like Thailand, Morocco, or Syria, "the culture is left to rot, just like the buildings and the infrastructure. No money is going back into preserving things." Perhaps as a bulwark against such rot, the Habibi Funk imprint was set up two years ago to shine a light on older music from the Arab world and founder Jannis Stuertz is aware of that dichotomy.
Habibi is an Arabic word meaning "my love" or "beloved", and habibi funk a term coined by the crate-digging label of the same name; a catch-all used to describe sounds from the Arab world of the 70s and 80s that the German imprint considers worthy of increased exposure. Though geographically, sociologically and often stylistically distinct, the tracks included on Habibi Funk are all examples of how Western sounds have been habitually co-opted by artists in countries such as Morocco, Egypt and the Sudan to suit their own creative impulses. Bob Destiny's Wang Dang may sound like something you'd read about on the back of a stripogram's business card, but it's actually the compilation's second track, Bob himself hailing from Algeria.