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Omar’s first release was Shabaka, Egypt’s first electronic music album, and is still a reference within the growing Egyptian art-music scene, with tracks like ‘El Mowatin El Salih’, ‘Ta7rik El Gism’, and ‘Yawm El Ghadab’.
Shabaka, co-produced with Yanni Giovanos in 2001 was Egypt’s first electronic music album, and is still a reference within the growing Egyptian art-music scene. Mixing melodies and beats with recordings from TV and radio programs, speaches, and songs, Shabaka creates a very subtle “musical criticism” of Egyptian society.
Shabaka started off as a playful experiment. Having played live instruments for years, Yanni Giovanos and myself (Omar Kamel) started messing around with some software releases, and some loop libraries, throwing things together, recording speech samples from Egyptian television and Egyptian radio, mixing it all together, and playing live instruments on top of it all. It was fun and we had a good time doing it.
Pretty soon, we both had a few tracks each, and decided that we both liked what the other had made and that the material, although markedly different, was somehow kin, bound by our choice of media samples, by the overall Elektro-Cairo thematics, and by our mess-around-and-try-it-out mentality. We threw things around, and if it sounded good, we kept it.