October 27, 2021

The Dwarfs Of East Agouza – Bes

29/4/16

NAWA RECORDINGS

If you’ve ever been to Marrakesh, you’ll love this. Or if you love Can. If you tick both boxes, you have a big treat in store. The Dwarfs are a trio from Egypt who somehow combine the sounds of Can with North African rhythms in the most genuine world music fusion record I’ve heard. My interpretation is that this is three North African musicians influenced by Krautrock, playing what sounds right and is a world away from other “world” music where something local is nailed to a Euro-centric beat or soundscape. This could, at times, be a street drum-circle set up on the edge of the Jemaa el Fna, at other times, a club in Cologne in the seventies.

Take, for example, the opener, Baka Of The Future. It’s the most accessible track and is recognisable to any Krautrock fan. An elastic, propulsive bass line pushes a fiddly noodly guitar figure alongside drumming heavily influenced by the human metronome, Jaki Leibzeit. Occasional keyboards appear and elements of Can or Jah Wobble’s Deep Space bands raise a nod of recognition. A double album set, The Dwarfs take however long they need to explore a groove. Tracks range from 4 minutes to 35 minutes long and cycle through many stages.

The last, longest track, Museum Of Stranglers, begins with relentless progress, like the honking horns of Cairo traffic, a Philip Glass-esque Koyanisquatsi of sound. It moves on into more traditional drum patterns, other zones, a lengthy scraping stasis worthy of a live deep “Space” jam from the Grateful Dead into a weaving snake-like groove.

The whole is head-nodding, addictive and true fusion.