Boomkat Product Review:
Incredible, previously unreleased early 1980's Algerian synth electronic by Ahmed Malek, compiled by Flako.
Remarkable discovery of late ‘70s/early ’80s avant ambient electronics from Arabic North Africa; originally conceived as demos or private studies by Ahmed Malek (1931-2008) - “Algeria’s answer to Ennio Morricone” - and now faithfully edited and buffed up for release by Flako. Imagine Dariush Dolat-Shahi turned into jazzy concrète mosaics by NWW and you’ve almost got a grasp of this record’s slippery wonder.
The Electronic Tapes follows Habibi Funk’s prized vinyl reissue of Malek’s Musique Originale De Films  with an unprecedented peek inside the boxes of Malek’s master tapes that were recently discovered by his family in Algiers during the soundtrack reissue process. As the tapes were effectively unfinished demos and the artist isn’t around to consult anymore, electronic producer Flako has capably stepped in to polish them off, adding only subtle flourishes of era-compatible Roland SH-2000 and Korg MS20 to sympathetically bring Malek’s electro-acoustic tapestries to life, and in a way that we can only imagine he would be pleased with.
Ostensibly sounding like some home-made new age excursion from late ‘70s Europe or North America, it’s the recurring presence of authentically Arabic scales and percussive patterns which identify this set beyond some obscure cosmic library LP from Italy or France, and closer to the rare experiments with jazz and electronics - such as Dariush Dolat-Shahi, Salah Ragab, or Ilhan Mimaroglu - from Arabic North Africa and the Middle East that we’re familiar with.
But even still, Flako’s post-processed results form a strange anachronism unto itself, skilfully weaving his improvisations on the original material in an innovative and subtle way that makes it tricky, and perhaps pointless, to distinguish between the dates of recording or who did what. Maybe it’s best left to Flako to sum the project up as: “ It’s Ahmed’s music… If anything, I feel like a member of his band, you know? I’m a part of this. That’s roughly how I see it.”
Stretched across space and time and fleshed out with imagination, the 17 tracks are just crammed with charmingly wild and kinetic ideas, setting out with a squinted synth vision recalling The Godfather theme sent into orbit, before constantly mutating thru cinematic strokes to insectoid jazz scuttle, romantic downbeats, haywire astral synth jabs and whirligig dances by the album’s close, with each allowing X amount of room for the original piece’s experimental nature and fractious arrangements.
Basically it’s not a straight-up reissue, nor is it an new recording; it’s something else and brilliant with it.