As the year draws to a close, we picked our favourite Albums of 2021.
Maurice Louca had previously shared the transcending lead single ‘Bidayat (Holocene)‘ from his upcoming album Saet El Hazz (The Luck Hour). Now the incredible composer and producer is enticing us again with a magical new track called ‘Higamah (Hirudinea)’. Wrap your ears around it.
There’s wonderful news from gifted and adventurous musician Maurice Louca, who has enthralled us long ago with his solo works and many other projects, including his trio The Dwarfs of East Agouza, multicultural collective Alif and bands like Bikya, Lekhfa and Karkhana. Following his magnificent Elephantine, which was one of our Album Picks of 2019, the composer and producer has announced the release of a new album entitled Saet El-Hazz (The Luck Hour). Louca explains the significance of the album title:
“‘The Luck Hour’ is a loose translation of ‘Saet El Hazz’ which is a coded saying we have in Egypt to refer to a good time, which usually includes a good deal of debauchery. When you mention that you have had a Saet Hazz, there are no questions asked; it is what it is and there is something about linking luck to decadence that resonates very much within me regarding the music of this record, and even if I can’t fully articulate it in words, the emotional register and drive behind this record and how it came to be, and the energy between us at the studio rehearsing and recording this record, is in a lot of ways to me a Saet Hazz (A Luck Hour).”
Consisting of six movements, Saet El-Hazz (The Luck Hour) draws on Arabic music, psychedelic folk, and free improv. The seed for the album sprouted from Louca’s wish to collaborate with Lebanese improvisational group “A” Trio. “They create a sonic cosmos of their own, and I had the idea and started composing music”, he explains, “the songs that I wanted to exist in this sonic world–at times harmoniously, other times clashing, and all the emotional and sonic ranges in between.”
Also crucial to the album was a commission from Mophradat Art Organization for Louca to compose and perform a music piece using instruments modified to play microtonally in the Arabic Maqam modes (scales), which led him to Istanbul to custom-make a guitar and to Indonesia. “I also ended up in Indonesia with a Gamelan maker, tuning a Serang (they caIl it the Indonesian Xylophone, a part of the family of Gamelan tuned percussion Instruments),” he comments “Since the Arabic Maqams use a lot of notes from the chromatic scale alongside the quarter tones, I ended up tuning it to a full chromatic scale plus certain quarter tones.”
As the year draws to a close, we picked our favourite Albums of 2019.
Maurice Louca, as a solo artist as well as with his numerous and adventurous collaborations, had conquered our ears a long time ago. A stalwart at the forefront of Egypt´s flourishing experimental music scene, Louca is an incredibly talented and prolific composer and producer. Earlier this year he released Elephantine, his magnificent new album, and we simply can´t put it down. So we´re beyond excited he accepted to helm this month´s mixtape! Here's his gem-filled mix that will stimulate and delight your ears!
- Albert Ayler – Goin’ Home
[Black Lion Records]
- Sunil Ganguly – Chupke Chupke Raat Din Aanso
- Alexandre St-Onge – Joseph Carey Merrick (Part Two)
- Jerusalem In My Heart – Thahab Mish Roujou Thahab
- Sote – Breadth Digit (Glass Lung)
- Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra – Other Planes Of There (excerpt)
[El Saturn Records]
- Daphne Oram – Pulse Persephone
- Umm Kulthum – Ghana El Rabea (excerpt)
- Don Ayler – Prophet John (excerpt)
- Miles Davis – Live Electric and Brutal @Berlin 1973 (Excerpt)
- Albert Ayler – Our Prayer
A gifted musician at the vanguard of Egypt’s flourishing experimental arts scene, Maurice Louca is involved in numerous collaborations, most notably his trio The Dwarfs of East Agouza, multicultural collective Alif and bands like Bikya, Lekhfa and Karkhana. Louca has also contributed his North African percussion loops and scintillation keys to other projects, composing for theatre, film and contemporary art.
February 1st will see the release of his new full-length album, Elephantine, recorded in Stockholm and featuring a 12-piece ensemble. The record “serves as both the pinnacle of his wide-ranging experience and a bold next step in his development as a composer, arranger and bandleader”, describes the press release. “The music — from its pensive lulls through its stretches of hard-grooving hypnosis and moments of avant-jazz catharsis — testifies to that rapport.”
The entrancing and transcending ‘The Leper’ serves as the first taste from the record and we can’t stop playing it.