Multi-instrumentalist and producer Simon Pierre and singer Ziad Qoulaii form De.Ville, a superb transcultural project imagined in Montreal. This quicksilver countertenor, obviously an excellent singer, expresses himself in Darija, a composite dialect from the Moroccan area. Qoulaii layers the quarter tones of his melodies on a very refined synth-pop, cross-stitched with jazz, soul, and trip-hop, keyboard music built on binary rhythms with female choral vocals, saxophone, and other ornaments delicately laid out on three tracks intended for an audiovisual production. While we’re at it, we’ll belatedly suggest a listen to Sables, a seven-track mini-album recorded in 2018 that went unnoticed. One can spot elements of raï, hip-hop, chaâbi, and Mandinka music expressed in Darija, classical Arabic, French, English, and Swahili. Just wow.
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