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Rahmann - Rahmann CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.24 | 68 ratings

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4 stars Algerian music hooks up with the Zeuhl possy.

A freak of nature this one is. Although forged in France 1980, the Rahmann album stretches way out beyond the confines of this vast rural country. With main man Mahamad Hadi's overt Arabic tendencies (and genes), this venture slithers its way into the sand coloured dunes of Northern Africa. He mainly plays the guitar with a docile manner about it - recalling what John McLaughlin could've sounded like, if he'd lay off the coffee for a while, but from time to time he whips out the ol bouzouki and oud, and you get the delirious sensation of being zoomed swiftly down by a desert lake oasis mirage.

Teaming up with both Didier Lockwood and Liza Deluxe off of Magma as well as the smooth stylings of bass man Gerard Prevost from Zao, Hadi neatly taps into the bouncy jazz rock of the Zeuhl generation. On here it's magnified a thousand times in a continuous stream of African percussion that unlike the relentless onslaught of fellow fusionnaire Santana and his never ending bongos, deliberately seeks out to embellish the music in a subtle manner. Hearing this back again today, it remains a mystery to me why the Zeuhl rockers didn't experiment more with what sounds like a match made in heaven - the incessant propulsion of France together with the ritualistic and hectic tribal rhythms of the African plains.

Personally I've always heard this record as a (damn near) instrumental Zeuhl one. Not to invoke too much meaning into the made up boxes or anything like that, I still hear the DNA of it all - and find it unmistakeably linked to what Magma instigated on their prodigal release MDK from 1973. Taking the choral bursts out of the equation, doesn't make Rahmann any less throbbing, bouncy and teutonic though - heck it might even have helped underline the all important ingredient of this kind of music: the rhythm section. Sure the music is lead on by Hadi's guitar and remarkable sense of melody, but what really gives this thing it's genuine persona, it's natural aura, is the distinct combination of drums and bass.

With a strong foundation underneath his feet, Hadi, and especially Michel Rutigliano with his big meaty piano gulps and futuristic ARP licks, wrap this baby up in a timeless infinitely melodic dressing. There are times on this album that are as slow and pensive like the long blue night, where the two of them sound like kids following a frightened kiss in bare moonlight.

In my honest opinion, I find that Rahmann should be the perfect introduction to the rare breed of people who find themselves fearful of the French branching of jazz rock. This one gives you all the zest and umphh from light-less corridors of music, that far too often are associated with strange vocals from a startled opera singer in the shower.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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