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Ahmed Malek

Musique Original De Films, Volume Deux (LP)

Label: Habibi Funk Records

Format: LP

Genre: Library/Soundtracks

Preorder: Released 28th June 2024

Habibi Funk is thrilled to share a second collection of deep grooves and unreleased songs from Algeria's Ahmed Malek, often compared to Italian heavyweight Ennio Morricone. Malek's music effortlessly switches between thematic jazz, funk, reggae and Algerian folk – creating indelible soundscapes that intersect the musical innovations made in African jazz by Mulatu Astatke, Bembeya Jazz National along with some of Europe's finest experimental composers like Piero Piccioni and Janko Nilovic. "Musique Originale de Films, Volume Deux" is out June 28th, 2024 via Habibi Funk.

Whenever an interview asks about a "memorable moment" in Habibi Funk label history, one we always reference is how we got in touch Ahmed Malek's (22K Spotify Followers, 285K Spotify Monthly Listeners) music and subsequently his family. It all started with us coming across Ahmed Malek's music on YouTube in 2012. We were mesmerized by how effortlessly the music would switch between jazz, funk and Algerian folk while counterweighting it with an undertone of melancholia. Musical perception is different for every person, but there is a chance that his music will touch you in one way or another. At the time, we had just started the Habibi Funk label and we felt Ahmed's music might be a good fit for the sound we were trying to highlight. Fast forward three years: we had become captivated with the idea of reissuing some of Ahmed Malek's music. We knew some people had tried to locate his family but, but with no success. In the end it was an incredible amount of luck that made it possible for you to read these words and listen to Ahmed's music.

We were on a DJ gig in Beirut playing old Arabic records and we mentioned our passion for Ahmed Malek's music to a friend. She said she knew one person in Algier, and as much as it would be a shot in the dark, she could ask her if she had an idea of how to find Malek's family. Two weeks went by before we heard back, and what we got was incredibly good news - her Algerian friend was the neighbor of Ahmed Malek's daughter! We're not spiritual people, but it felt like the universe wanted to see the release happen. We started to speak with Henya, Ahmed Malek's daughter and she was more than happy with our idea. She assured us that her father would have loved the plan as well. She provided us with tons of awesome material, from great photos, to unseen video footage and unreleased tracks. 

Eventually we visited Henya in Algeria and we licensed some of her father's music, first for one (Habibi 003), then for another (Habibi 005), then we eventually organized an exhibition in June/July 2019 – Planète Malek – Une Rétrospective – at the Musée Public National D'Art Moderne & Contemporain in Algiers, focusing on Ahmed Malek's artistic life. We also produced a small movie about him that our friend Paloma Colombe shot and directed. "Musique Originale de Films, Volume Deux" is a deep collection of unreleased songs and stemmed grooves from the Algerian master, from jazz, funk, psych to reggae rhythms and Latin flavors, all under the sonic umbrella of "Planète Malek;" and to quote the maestro, "I didn't choose music, music chose me."

Lead single is the subtlety funky "Thème Rythme Léger," out May 3rd along with LP Pre-Order (coincided with Bandcamp Friday for a larger impact) a delicate sonic dance between flute, piano and Spanish guitar with a Bossainfluenced groove. The steady, swingin' drum groove is cloudlike - definitely toe-tapping friendly so just grab a partner to feel the Rhythme Léger. Second single out May 17th is the reggae-infused "L'Empire Des Rêves" – a sultry sax melody weaves through a prismatic rocksteady thematic groove. 3rd and final single "Thème Djalti feat. Aïda Guéchoud" – is a true Western-inspired ode to his Italian counterpart Ennio Morricone. "Thème Djalti" features the haunting vocals of Aïda Guéchoud, and combines elements of baroque and Bossa-jazz in a timelessly thematic way that seems grandiose yet remains uniquely personal to your ears. Swelling strings, trumpet, fem vox, flute, and plucked guitar expertly arranged, feels like you're riding a horse into the sunset.

Focus track "La La La" is fiery afro-arab-funk of the highest order! Put on your dancing shoes as Ahmed cuts the rug and gets us grooving along. Sonically the cut sounds like if Ahmed ran into The JB's and Fela Kuti at a Cymande concert. Driving guitar and organ solos vie over pulsating bass riffs and afro-funk drumming that'll have you out on the dance floor in no time. As always, both vinyl and CD come with an extensive booklet featuring background and interviews with Ahmed compiled through found newspaper clippings and newsreels, also including unseen photos, scans and more. "Ahmed Malek: Musique Originale de Films, Volume Deux" will be out everywhere June 28th.

Cat. number: HABIBI0271
Year: 2024