Kutché album cover

Cheb Khaled , Safy Boutella

Zone Music

Khaled had already become the “King of Raï” with the release of his Hada Raykoum in 1985, which had already moved towards a poppier direction. Kutchè, which he made with Algerian arranger and composer Safy Boutella in France, includes more traditional instruments like the bendir, the tar, the accordion, and the violin, while at the same time embracing an electro-pop sound even further with the addition of a punchy horn section, soaring synthesizers, and drum machine rhythms. “La Camel” (originally by Cheikha Rimitti) is one of the album’s standout tracks, and has become a classic Raï anthem with its funky rhythms and jerky production, with its refrain lurching back and forward as if the record were being spun by an ‘80s hip-hop DJ.

Megan Iacobini de Fazio

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