Franco-Algerian collective Acid Arab are releasing their third album, ٣ (Trois)

The ten tracks on this eagerly-awaited record are serious dancefloor bangers, and will also be providing delightful private listening experiences, thanks to their sophisticated production and to the intriguing, diverse performances by eight guest vocalists from North Africa, Syria & Turkey: Wael Alkak, Cem Yildiz, Ghizlane Melih, Khnafer Lazhar, Sofiane Saidi, Fella Soltana, Cheb Halim & Rachid Taha.

Algerian gasba, Anatolian trance, synthetic dabkeh, bionic raï... Acid Arab have incorporated and invented a spectrum of styles, breaking boundaries between genres. After spending close to ten years exploring diverse types of music through their numerous collaborations and their constant travels all around the Mediterranean and beyond, Acid Arab keep pushing the envelope and expanding their musical territories.
We’re careful not to repeat a identical formula from album to album” says the band. “It’s the actual working relationship with the guest artists which drives us to expand the concept.

٣ opens with Leila, featuring vocals by Sofiane Saidi, known for his instinctive & festive take on raï music. “Sofiane has been working with us since the early days. He sang and co-wrote La Hafla on our debut album Musique de France.”
Another recurring collaborator is Turkish multi-instrumentalist & vocalist Cem Yildiz. “We love the dual aspects his style brings to the album: deeply spiritual as well as psychedelic.” In the album’s second track, Döne Döne, Acid Arab and Yildiz revisit a ceremony from the Alevi tradition, a mystical ritual known as Cem (from which Yildiz derives his first name, which is pronounced ‘djem’). Yildiz too collaborates with Acid Arab since the band’s inception (Stil, on the Acid Arab’s debut LP, is one of their most popular songs).

Ya Mahla sees the reunion between Acid Arab and Syrian singer Wael Alkak (who was originally meant to be the band’s first keyboard player). “It felt great to be working on a track with Wael, almost ten years after our first encounter” say Acid Arab. “The lyrics are almost anthem-like: What a beautiful word, ‘Freedom’ / I salute the Arab people / What a beautiful word, ‘Freedom’ / I salute the Arab revolutionaries”. A strong, activist message, for a driving, club-oriented third track.
Cheb Halim is the fourth guest on the album. He’s a raï singer, and specifically an exponent of aroubi, a musical genre deeply rooted in the Algerian countryside traditions. On this majestic song entitled Halim Guelil, both parties created a balanced, common musical ground.
This equilibrated, collaborative modus operandi is also at work in the next couple of songs, Habaytak, featuring the voice of Moroccan diva Ghizlane Melih, and Gouloulou, with the illustrious Fella Soltana, formerly known as Fella Ababsa. She was a star of the Algerian raï scene during the ‘90s, and put an end to her career in 2018.
Acid Arab’s predilection for rough musical aesthetics is displayed on Acid Chawi, a collaboration with Algerian singer Khnafer Lazhar and Djelloul Ammar, a gasba player from Constantine. “We feel a deep connection with the traditional gasba sound”, says the band. With its quasi-acid house production, coupled with Khnafer’s fierce energy, this is -literally speaking- the most Acid Arab track on the album.

Next comes another reunion, a virtual one this time: “We hung out a lot with Rachid Taha during his last years (he died on 12 September 2018). After a festive meal in the Belleville area, we went to [Versatile boss] Gilbr’s place. That night, Rachid improvised on top of a Detroit techno track, and we recorded his voice on a smartphone”. This nocturnal excursion found its way, several years later, into Rachid Trip, a track with a tense, technoid production.

In Emo, the band’s keyboard player Kenzi Bourras takes the mic for a dark, cerebral track which nods to Dopplereffekt and other artists in the Detroit nebula. Kenzi already used to sing when he was part of Rachid Taha’s band, and Rachid regularly invited him to perform the traditional song Abdel Kader. On Emo, Kenzi’s processed voice helps the track sound like a jump into the unknown.

Acid Arab’s third album ends with Sayarat 303 Part 2, a long instrumental ascension which provides a post-scriptum to Sayarat 303, a track off their debut album Musique de France.

ACID ARAB ٣ (Trois) - 2LP, CD & digital
out February 3, 2023 on Crammed Discs

About Acid Arab

The mighty French-Algerian collective emerged ten years ago from the transcultural cauldron that is Paris, and resulted from the encounter between Pierre-Yves Casanova, Nicolas Borne, Hervé Carvalho, Guido Minisky and Kenzi Bourras. With their intoxicating blend of sharp Western electronic music with Eastern sounds & vocals, they’ve been putting worldwide festivals and club audiences under a spell.

Aiming at creating a space for Arab culture in the world of contemporary electronic music, Acid Arab patiently honed their style through their numerous collaborations and their constant travels all around the Mediterranean and beyond.

After releasing several EPs (the Collections series) on electronic music label Versatile, they signed with Crammed Discs and released two celebrated albums (Musique de France in 2016 and Jdid in 2019). They started a label (a joint effort with Crammed, on which they’ve signed emerging electronic music artists from the Arab world), made a series of ‘drawn concerts’ with Lebanese illustrator Raphaëlle Macaron, and performed hundreds of shows in over fifty countries on four continents.

They’ll be presenting the music from ٣(“trois”) in the course of a worldwide tour which starts in November 2022 and will continue throughout 2023.
(٣ is the symbol for the figure “three” in Arabic)


ACID ARAB - Acid Arab Remixed
Acid Arab Remixed
ACID ARAB - Musique de France
Musique de France