For his début release as The Maghreban, Ayman Rostom shuffles his hip-hop alias Dr. Zygote towards the back for a darker mood and minor-key identity.
With “01DEAS”, he approaches dance music as a disruptor and outsider to the pervasive carbon copy dumb shit that seems to hi-jack the cover of House music magazines every six months. The Maghreban, the Arabic name for Northwest Africa, re-establishes that House was always a safe haven for black, brown, and queer. Perceived disruptors to the mainstream.
This 13 track long player makes quick time in setting up an omnidirectional playhouse that rolls with deep bass force and “clanking drum breaks that sound like they were dredged from the bottom of the river Nile”. So when A-F-R-O handles the toasting duties on the uptempo clap and snaps of ‘Hi-Top Remix’ – essentially getting his Capitol A on – Rostom is winking at us acknowledging that “WE, been doin this for a minute”.
All these heavy micro-climates that Rostom likes to refer as “the hypnotic sound of confusion”. The queasy patina of heavy dark Jungle over a half-time beat on ‘Eddies’; the basement sweat of ‘Crime Jazz’ and ‘Can’t Breathe’, which seem to be very Theo Parrish adjacent; or the science-fiction sprawl that transforms an acoustic Kalimba on ‘Mbira’ into a “take heed” call. Yes, these textures stem from a love of analogue technology.
‘Mr. Brown’, which can be seen as the most straightforward choice here, is also the most vibey joint holding court. Over a deep cymbal loop, and all the right type of clanging of bells, Rostom gets in his bag with a subdued keyboard presence. It’s a hybrid Ethiopian-Jazz meets Broken Beat moment that just lingers quietly, commanding the most attention.
“01DEAS” released March 23, 2018 on R&S Records