Algerian composer Ahmed Malek enjoyed a glittering career, winning awards for his work domestically and internationally in the 1970s. Wider recognition from a new generation of listeners came last year thanks to a reissue of original film scores on Habibi Funk, a label committed to releasing music from the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding lands. Now they’ve returned with the followup, albeit one that treads a rather disparate path. While that first retrospective offered an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, funk and psych-flavoured soundtracks, The Electronic Tapes put another dimension to the now-deceased composer’s work on display.
Despite being one of the first Algerians to experiment, Malek’s flirtations with electronic music didn’t begin until he was in his 50s. Recorded as demos, none of that material ever saw the light of day so several decades on, Habibi Funk have taken it upon themselves to excavate 2 hours worth with the help of German-Chilean producer, Flako. Compiling and co-producing the music, Flako set out to deliver something that “sounds like it might have if Mr. Malek would have finished it himself before of his death,” augmenting the original electro-acoustic compositions with his own Roland SH-2000 and Korg MS20. Evocative avant-garde pieces sit alongside erratic jazz arrangements, and if that weren’t enough, the stunning artwork was provided by none other than NTS mainstay, Kutmah.
The Electronic Tapes is out now on Habibi Funk – buy it here.