VAMPI and Dorian Concept remix Sabrina Bellaouel and explore the new club possibilities of the Franco-Algerian R&B artist
A few months after the release of her acclaimed debut album and contemporary R&B gem, Al Hadr, talented Franco-Algerian artist Sabrina Bellaouel is back on InFiné with the EP Jah.
The release is based around the track ‘Jah’, co-produced with label-mate Basile3, with lyrics co-written with alternative pop singer Bonnie Banane. Described as an EP rather than a single, this new release will include an edit of the eponymous track (the original of which can be found on the album), two remixes by VAMPI and Dorian Concept (Ninja Tune, Brainfeeder), plus a dub version of the second. A video clip for the title track, directed by Lesly Lynch, will also accompany the project’s release on 11 July.
As on the EPs Eclipse, which preceded the album’s release, and Arab Liquor, released in 2021 (a track of which we revealed here), Sabrina Bellaouel has surrounded herself with producers from the electronic music scene, offering relevant club versions of the original tracks. What might appear to be a fairly standard release strategy, adopting the ‘single + remixes’ format (even more logical for an electronic music label), makes complete sense here. The remixes are more like extensions of Sabrina Bellaouel’s aesthetic and would have fitted perfectly on an album already full of club influences (‘Body’, ‘Period Point Blank’, ‘Eclipse’, ‘Trust’).
Club, R&B, yes, but not only! The universe that Bellaouel has been developing, maturing, and enriching independently since her first solo releases in 2016 strikes an impeccable balance on Al Hadr and the releases that surround it. Inspired equally by spirituality, astrology, her Berber culture, punk, Jill Scott, and J Dilla, the woman with as much love for the club as she does for gospel manages to synthesise the whole and delivers one of the most captivating visionary R&B albums of 2023.
And so she continues her exploration by commissioning the two remixers mentioned at the start of this article to rework her track ‘Jah’. Bringing together VAMPI and Dorian Concept on the same release seemed improbable, but in the end, it works out very well, as the two musicians could embody two facets of Bellaouel’s work and influences. Ahead of the release, the label entrusted us with the remix of VAMPI, which we unveil today.
One half of Daisy Mortem, a fascinating duo that moves between EBM, experimental club music, and more-than-serious vampiric hyperpop, VAMPI is also a solo act. We all remember the UFO ‘Kidogo’ released via Nyege Nyege, the Ugandan label that publishes the African club music of tomorrow. For his remix of ‘Jah’, the producer told us that he wanted to emphasise the energy contained in the lyrics of the original track. In contrast to the chill ambience of the album version, VAMPI has built his remix around “insolent” breaks and other vocal cutting effects that accentuate the energy. With his remix, he opens an interesting new door into the world of Bellaouel and explores an even rawer and more experimental dimension.
Living in London for the past two years, VAMPI also told us that he has been lucky enough to be immersed in the local experimental music and art scene. As a result, he has been able to take the time to develop his own solo project, the first extracts from which will be released this year. Can’t wait!