Natacha Atlas

Mounqaliba - Rising: The Remixes

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A good remix is an art in itself. Not only does it use the original musical intention of the artist, it builds on that to create a complete reimagining. That not only requires strong musical skills, both for beats and arrangements, but also a sense of sympathy with the artist and intentions -- and that's what makes this such a success. The producers on the various tracks have listened to what Atlas was doing on the album and added to it, sometimes bringing small things into the light, other times adding and even altering the original to give a completely different aura. "Riverman," for example, benefits from record player crackle to add a vintage sheen, while the EarthRise Soundsystem version of "Batkallim" sparkles with melody, as opposed to the Bombaby Dub Orchestra, which emphasizes the sonic swoops of strings to heighten the drama, or Cheb I Sabbah, who looks first to politics on the same track, inserting samples of broadcasts of the 2011 uprising in Egypt, locating the music firmly in time and space. Beats Antique work subtly on the beats with "Makaan," in absolute contrast to the stomp of Nikodemus reworking the same track; it's like having a painting-by-numbers canvas where each painter has different set of numbered colors. That they all bring such variety without losing the heart of what Atlas intended is high praise, indeed.

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