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Album review: Kalashnik Love by Speed Caravan

October 5, 2009

Kalashnik Love – Speed Caravan

cover

Speed Caravan are the latest signing to Pete Gabriel’s Real World label, which is usually an indication of the quality of an act; they don’t sign rubbish. Speed Caravan are no exception. The four musicians have an impressive pedigree. Algerian-born Frenchman Mehdi Haddab is a familiar name from his oud-playing exploits in Ekova and DuOud, bassist Pascal Teillet has played with Rachid Taha, and computer and electronics wizard Hermione Frank is another graduate from Ekova. They are accompanied by percussionist and vocalist Mohamed Bouamar and supported on this album by a range of guests including the aforementioned Rachid Taha.

So – what does the album sound like? The oud is played through rock amplification and effects and sounds like a rock guitar but somehow still sounds like an oud. The wah wah pedal seems to work particularly well, inevitably giving it a Hendrix-like sound. The rest of the instrumentation grooves hard; this is fundamentally a rock album despite the North African lead instrument and vocals in various languages. There’s an interesting cover of The Cure‘s Killing An Arab – I must get around to checking the lyrics out to determine whether there’s any irony being explored here. I hope so! Another notable cover is of the Chemical BrothersGalvanize, which itself featured a distinctly Moroccan string sample from Najat Aatabou‘s song, Just Tell Me the Truth. What goes around comes around. It’s cracking version of the tune, too. There are two traditional tunes on the album, Idemo Dalje and Hotel Zyannides but writing credits on other tunes are well spread out among several of the album’s contributors; this isn’t a solo project with a raft of guests.

oud

The album works as a collection of tunes and musical styles vary enough to maintain interest. It rocks but there’s enough variation in tempo and feel, vocal style, language and instrumentation to prevent boredom setting in.

As the record industry dies, I hope Real World has the resources to adequately promote this album but, more importantly, I hope they invest in this band’s career and allow them to develop and become more than a one album band. Kalashnik Love shows what can be achieved. I’d like to see them do even more.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2009 3:27 pm

    Well, I looked up the lyrics to Killing An Arab. You can read them here:

    http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Killing-an-Arab-lyrics-The-Cure/A5D795BA89619B5248256BC10023E4A5

    I’m not really any the wiser….I think the listener has to imagine for themselves the story behind this first person narrative. I quite like this enigmatic quality of the words.

  2. October 6, 2009 4:16 pm

    Speed Caravan are being showcased in Pathaan’s Musical Rickshaw on the BBC Asian Network on ( I think ) 11 October.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork/pathaansmusicalrickshaw/

Trackbacks

  1. Generation Bass » Blog Archive » SPEED CARAVAN + RICHARD ARCHER FROM HARD FI (TBC) + DJ UMB TOMORROW NIGHT @ DINGWALLS
  2. Generation Bass » Blog Archive » TONIGHT @ DINGWALLS, LONDON – SPEED CARAVAN WITH GUEST APPEARANCE BY RICHARD ARCHER OF HARD FI & DJ UMB!

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