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Egypt's Maurice Louca Strips Things Down in 'Higamah (Hirudinea)'

Obscure field recordings and a guitar drive forward the experimentalist's second single from upcoming album, 'Saet El Hazz'.

Last month, Egyptian experimental musician, Maurice Louca, released the first taste of his upcoming album, Saet El Hazz (The Luck Hour), with ‘Bidayat (Holocene)’ coming as a multilayered crescendo of sounds that played with Middle Eastern melodies. Clocking in at just under four-and-half minutes, the track wasted little time in setting its scene, one that painted images of a Bedouin campfire gathering, crackling in familiar but indistinguishable sounds of people and... things.


The second single from the album, ‘Higamah (Hirudinea)’, doesn't stray too far from its predecessor structurally, but paints a different picture altogether. There’s a brightness about it, the sonic centrepiece coming in the form of unhurried, organic sitar-like strings. Backed by a troupe of players including Mazen Kerbaj, Sharif Sehnaoui, Raed Yassin, Anthea Cady, Christine Kazaryan and Khaled Yassine, the tracks builds through more layering of sounds, again familiar but almost undefinable - wildlife, a jungle, maybe. If sun rays could be condensed into a sound, it would be in there, alongside other bells and whistles, metaphorical and otherwise.It’s an engrossing piece, a visceral mélange that invites rather than isolates as so much experimental music can. Maybe 'strips things down' as per the title doesn't tell the whole story, because that doesn't mean that the song doesn't have depth. There's lightness to it, a humanness about it, but also a dueling sense loneliness and freedom. It’s a Maurice Louca piece and Maurice Louca pieces invite you to think, then think again.