In the same way that Talvin Singh creates music that's modern and pan-global but still true to its intrinsic "Indian-ness," Rachid Taha's musical mission is one that explodes notions about contemporary Arabic music. Long marginalized as the raï community's resident rocker, Taha has grown into an artist far more mature and sonically confrontational than that. The context-flipping cover of "Rock the Casbah" is a little obvious, but the dense amalgam of genre-fusion of Tékitoi yields other pleasures far more ephemeral. Not once among these 14 tracks do you have any doubt that you're listening to a musician steeped in Arabic style. Nonetheless, the infusion of driving percussion, stern female choruses, grinding guitars, mystic drones and otherworldly electronic rhythms ends up creating a sound that's utterly unique, and, when delivered with the disheveled, punk-like intensity in Taha's voice, like a slap in your imperialist face.
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