Friday, September 23, 2011

AraabMUZIK: Electronic Dream (2011)


(Duke)

When did nocturnal party music become so goddamned dour? Between AraabMUZIK's depressive decadence and the Weeknd's landscapes of urban squalor, you'd think the economy had taken a toll on the American Friday night. But actually, if you play this in a club, everyone will hate you and ask for more Whispers. Or Journey.

It's not that Electronic Dream is a total failure musically, just that its mood seems curiously labored and off-key. Its eleven tracks, spread over a half hour, let samples and sounds weave in and out but really amount to one DJ session that harps on the same idea throughout. AraabMUZIK himself is a producer who's worked with Jadakiss and Busta Rhymes, but his debut album as a performer has nothing to do with hip hop and R&B except in terms of its deceptive slickness.

Like a lot of mood music, the album has a devotion to sound that ultimately renders it flat and emotionless. If you want to capture the feeling of walking the city at night alone, try Marquee Moon, and note that it is not interrupted every few minutes with an extremely grating announcement that "you're now listening to Television."

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