There was a very hot electronic music festival in Cairo this weekend organized by a small local record label, 100 Copies. I have a couple of their LPs, which I dig, and their releases ranges from minimalist ambient to dub. The Thursday night program I saw featured three musicians and one visual artist. The first, Omar Raafat, was my favorite because he works with breakbeats and has strong hip-hop sensibility. He works with an old Casio mini-keyboard. His set began and ended with a very cool, somewhat minimalist backbeat that would have sounded at home on any 1980s hip-hop album. He is experimenting with a lot of the same kinds of sounds that Kanye was using on his last LP (minus the vocals). In between the start and finish, Raafat broke down what he was doing but still stayed focused on his breaks. It was a def deft balance. He was accompanied by a live video installation from Kareem Lotfy which was beautiful. Lot of close-up images of paintbrush on canvas—with some amazing details of liquid textures. Also some pixilations which also bring to mind the 1980s. Hard to describe, but great to watch.
The second musician was Pole, which was the most straightforward part of the evening. He mixes some nice dub stuff that would not sound out of place in a club. Since it wasn’t a club, I thought his hour-long set, though solid all the way through, was a bit long. Third was Maurice Louca who is also part of the band Bikya. He really built up a lot of momentum during the course of his set, which kept me interested throughout. Loud, electronic music, and by far the most eclectic of the evening.
Sadly I wasn’t able to catch the program on Friday or Saturday.