Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Cheb Khaled/Safy Boutella

  • Kutché [Intuition, 1989] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Kutché [Intuition, 1989]
Maybe he is Elvis for Arabs, but the analogy wouldn't ring true here even if we understood the words--even if we understood their tradition. The culture he rebels against is just too different from ours, especially in re sex and gender. So though Khaled's urgently masculine melody lines are a necessary condition, the explosive made-for-CD glory of Boutella's settings is what sells this variation on the rai hypnogroove. Supposedly Algeria's top composer, the German-born, Berkeley-educated Boutella relates to Debussy and Davis, it sez here--and to flamenco and house, it sounds there--but at this distance his influences only enrich his Maghreb identity. What texture, what backtalk, what interpolations, what sound effects. What beats. A-