Over the past month and a half, AraabMuzik’s Electronic Dream has become one of the sacred cows of new-urban and underground music. Writers and fans have been pouring cyber ink that rivals BP’s oil spill to describe their adoration of the work. After many spins the verbose proclamations become understandable as Araab has released one of the most hypnotic and emotive concoctions of hip hop, dance, and electro. Araab’s Electronic Dream takes the density and tempo of Dilla’s drums, frames them within southern rap’s programming, and places them under some of the more pleasing and organic electronic manipulations this side of FlyLo. It’s a scintillating amalgam of tones and tempos that allow the album to shine as “vocal-less” instrumentation.
The majority of melodies that erupt from AraabMuzik’s MPC are mined from the bowls of unknown or forgotten house / trance music. Electronic Dream comes across like a flamboyant cousin to Burial’s Untrue. Sampled and processed female vocals rest at the crux of very muscular and at times frantic beats. The ethereal opener, “Electronic Dream”, sets the tone for the album with its rickety soul wandering across stammering hi-hats and drum kicks. It leads right into the appropriately titled “Streetz Tonight”, where Araab interpolates the sample source within the cascade of the song’s tempo. This sonic reveal and juxtaposition is done on other songs as well. It’s a method I believe Araab employs to show off his beat-head-ness with a populist intent.
Electronic Dream also works because it flows seamlessly from one track to the next while keeping the moods varied. The menacing “Underground Stream” is a stark contrast to the rugged romantic feel of “Let It Go”. Even by the time the propulsive force of “Feelin So Hood” and “Lost In A Maze” close the album, Araab’s relentless filtered hi-hat comes across like a futurist sound for wild cowboys buckin’ shots in the hood. The eleven songs almost come off as emo-IDM for corner boys. AraabMuzik’s album is energetic, hard, erotic, forlorn, and arrogant. It synthesizes many of the ideas and sounds others struggle to effectively articulate. Electronic Dream is one of 2011’s most progressive, but accessible products, and deserves every hi-minded pretentious post-modern critical love it receives.
You can stream “Make It Happen” below.