Mau­rice Louca

★★★★ Elephantine

Mojo (UK) - - Filter Albums -

NORTH­ERN SPY/SUB ROSA. CD/DL/LP

Egyp­tian ex­per­i­men­tal­ist ush­ers Mid­dle East­ern jazz into fresh ter­ri­to­ries. MAU­RICE LOUCA has come a long way since 2011’s bruis­ing, in­tense de­but Gar­raya fused jazz, chaabi and tra­di­tional Ara­bic mu­sic with western loops and sam­ples. Now in­flu­en­tial enough to cor­ral a dozen sea­soned mu­si­cians into his grand vi­sion, he walks them over blaz­ing coals here, lulling float­ing vot­ers with The Leper’s repet­i­tive acous­tic fig­ure be­fore it builds into a colos­sal slab of hyp­notic cos­mic jazz. Its brassy off-kil­ter cli­max meets its match in Laika’s ever evolv­ing modal ex­plo­sion, One More For The Gut­ter’s con­trolled ca­coph­ony or Al Khawaga’s mam­moth jerky en­sem­ble riff. Else­where, flick­ers of old Egypt lurk in the oud and vi­olin-driven The Palm Of A Ghost, sen­su­ously voiced by Nadah El Sha­zly, and the ti­tle track’s deep­pile at­mo­spher­ics. Big but clever with it, Elephantine is a daz­zling, trance-like tri­umph.

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