Yasmine Hamdan: Ya Nass (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

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Yasmine Hamdan: La Mouche
Yasmine Hamdan: Ya Nass (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Out of the Lebanon -- where she co-founded an electronica duo Soapkills -- and now based in Paris, this striking singer-writer and counterculture figure in the Arab world really hits her straps here on an album which is at a point between sensual electronica, downbeat chill-out, generic pan-Middle Eastern slo-mo pop and cocktail lounge slinkiness.

That it comes in (mostly) Arabic adds an extra allure of exoticism and it is also elegantly produced by Marc Collin of the cool-mood French art project/covers band Nouvelle Vague

Originally released last year but now re-presented with five new tracks, the full effect of this collaboration is going to go right past anyone who doesn't speak the multiple languages she does (and she slips between them in single songs), but on a purely ambient level this is a classy production of dialed-down moods for late night listening.

Perhaps the coolness and overall atmospheric tone works against it in terms of the individual songs, but in isolation -- check the soft touch of La Mouch -- there are also some fine songs here.

Hamdan is so cool -- and hot -- that she plays herself in a forthcoming David Lynch movie. 

Turn down the lights . . . 

Like the sound of this, then check out Vanessa Daou.


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