Ifriqiyya Electrique – Rûwâhîne

Album Review | Glitterbeat | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

The soundscapes that Ifriqiyya Electrique present on Rûwâhîne move uncompromisingly between haunting, unsettling, hypnotic and euphoric, each track refusing to let go of its listener as it flickers ominously in and out of darkness.  This debut release from the Tunisian Sufi outfit mixes elements of ceremonial chant, desert rock, industrial music, trance and hip-hop to summon the spirits of the Banga communities of sub-Saharan Africa.  The healing rituals that inspire the music are said to drain their followers of all senses in an effort to find and destroy their inner demons.  Indeed, there is something distinctly therapeutic within the soulful outpourings of these eight tracks, especially the thunderous “Qaadrii – Salaam Alaik – Massarh” which grows from its subtle percussion opening towards a stirring cacophony of chants, beats and electric guitar drones, as well as the roaring and infectiously rhythmic “Lavo – Baba Marzug – Sidi Saad – Allah”.  Even when the instruments are stilled for such tracks as “Mawwel” and the tribal chants of Sidriiya, a compelling disquiet is aroused that makes the silence at the end of this incredible record almost unbearable.