With spoken words floating over chords of an acoustic guitar, El Far3i brings a rejuvenating sound to Middle Eastern independent scene.
When it comes to Tareq Abu Kwaik, it’s hard to categorise or impose a certain genre on what he performs. Often times he’s a rapper, others a jazzist (former member of Zaman Al Zaatar), sometimes a drummer (check credits on Jadal’s “Bye Bye 3azizi“), or even a rocker (former member of El Morabba3).
However, when it comes to this project, “El Rajol Al Khashabi” (الرجل الخشبي), or “The Man Made of Wood”, sounds the most representative of El Far3i’s ethos up to this point.
In concept and composition, “El Rajol El Khashabi” is similar to its former debut release “Sawt Men Khashab” (صوت من خشب), meaning “A Voice Made of Wood”. El Far3i’s spoken words floating over his chords strumming an acoustic guitar.
Nevertheless, it sees a foreseen maturity – both in Tareq’s vocals and the production value of an album release in its entirety – which is only natural after almost 3 years of performing with UK’s underground emerging collective 47SOUL, and a number of collaborations with various producers across the Middle East in between.
Furthermore, it’s apparent from the first few listens that Tareq has toned down his rapping skills in exchange of melodic vocal articulation. This particularly comes evident in “Tghayarti” (اتغيرتي) and “Bein Kol El Nas” (بين كل الناس), which both explore new layers in El Far3i’s vocals and guitar strumming.
Additionally, this album sees a deconstruct in his songwriting abilities away from the standard “Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus” arrangement while staying true to his rapping genesis in songs like “Estishraq Dakhily” (استشراق داخلي) and “Ya Sahbi” (يا صاحبي).
It’s certainly refreshing to see an artist reinventing and exploring himself in distinct musical styles, particularly – in this case – with an instrument seldom adopted to the Arabic melodies and quarter-tone.
With “El Rajol El Khashabi”, it’s safe to say El-Far3i is paving the way for a new wave of performers to take his lead and recreate a rejuvenating sound in the Middle Eastern independent scene.
Stream “El Rajol El Khashabi” LP on Bandcamp.