Soolking — “Vintage”
Release Date: Mar. 20, 2020
After rising to popularity from Algeria to France with rap hits such as “Dalida” and “Guerilla” in 2018, Soolking has returned to take yet another significant step for Algerian rap with his recently released album, “Vintage.” Soolking spans a wide range of genres, expertly blending electronic, rap and Algerian folk music or raï.
Acrobat turned musician, Soolking candidly and gracefully reflects upon the experience of immigrating from North Africa to France in both French and Algerian on “Vintage,” bringing visibility to Maghreb communities throughout France. The album is powered by a peppy electronic beat comparable to a lot of mainstream French pop-rap, but the layering of Algerian folk influences with Soolking’s unique voice make the album stand out. Tracks “Ça Fait des années” (featuring Cheb Mami) and “Melegim” (featuring Dadju) shine especially bright. “Vintage” will surely cement Soolking’s well deserved place within both Algerian and French rap worlds.
Harumi — “Harumi”
Release Date: 1968
This psychedelic staple is thrilling, intoxicating, and always worth a revisit. Released in 1968, Harumi Ando’s debut album is almost as mysterious as the artist himself. The project was produced by Tom Wilson, who worked with artists such as Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, The Velvet Underground, and other icons. Despite the notable producer and cult following, very little is known about the Japanese musician, who seemed to disappear after the release of “Harumi.” However, the mystery shrouding the artist extends to the enchanting quality of Harumi’s only album ever released.
The album opens with upbeat, psych pop tracks resonant of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which warmly invites the listener into the experience. Quieter, hypnotic tracks such as “Hello” and “Sugar In Your Tea” follow before the listener enters into the heart of the album with standout tracks “Hunters Of Heaven” and “What A Day For Me.” The album becomes increasingly folky and celebratory as Harumi delves further into his own unique style. The cracks and thinness of Harumi’s voice are like ear candy. Before long, the listener loses themself in the album’s final tracks, which could be more accurately described as twenty-minute spoken word pieces with musical accompaniment. From pop-folk blends to instrumental exploration trips, Harumi provides a timeless track for every type of psychedelic music fan.