Nobody but nobody sounds like The Maghreban.
It's been quite the wait for Ayman Rostom's second LP, but finally, it's arrived, and it's fucking deadly. His debut LP - 'Ideas' dropped in 2018 and we've had to wait until 2022 for 'Connection' which sees the light of day on his own Zoot Records imprint. 'Connection' finds the Maghreban in a more expansive mindset both musically and collaboratively. As he says himself, "It's called Connection because I was seeking and becoming more comfortable with connection whilst making it, rather than keeping myself to myself like I have done in the past. But the flipside of that was a deeper awareness of grief and sorrow".
While a more collaborative effort than before, this LP is no less uncompromising, occupying a space all of its own. Just as his dance 12 inches sound like a hip-hop producer tackling house and techno head-on, 'Connection' may touch on familiar tropes but approaches them in a wholly unique style and fashion. The most obvious single is 'Waiting,' featuring the vocals of bonafide UK soul legend Omar, which takes its cues from the deepest and darkest Chicago house music. In less talented hands, this could fall into lazy homage. But despite (or maybe because) of both artist and vocalist working outside of genre expectations, it transcends any cliche, sounding dynamic and fresh as all hell.
'Waiting' is really something of an outlier compared to the rest of the LP, which references jazz and Middle Eastern influences more than it does house music. 'Moving' gleefully wrongfoots the listener, diverting from clipped military drums into spiritual jazz and onwards into some kind of militant rave. There are two tracks featuring Idris Rahman - ' Celebratory Relapse' and 'Black Seed Oil' - both of which are clear highlights; psychedelic and heady but never forgoing the Maghreban's rock-solid rhythmic control. Elsewhere we get lethal modern hip-hop with rapper Nah Eeto on 'Got Your Number', and melancholic, 'Far East' style reggae with 'Anzilli' featuring Abdullah Miniawy's haunting vocals.
In these days of anodyne, easily compartmentalised new music, we need to give thanks to artists like the Maghreban. So get yourself connected and get this LP.
'Connection' is released on July 22 on Zoot Records