Muqata’a – Inkanakuntu

MuqataaDiscrepant premiers a new “sister beat label” this week, with a fascinating instrumental effort from Palestinian producer/DJ Muqata’a.

“SOUK Records aims to bring beats from every corner of the world,” according to the release materials. “It is more than a dance music label. Our focus is on the strains of dance/beat music being created in different cultures, with the influences of the globalized world but still with its own identity.”

Muqata’a is a mainstay on the Ramallah hip hop scene. Here, he combines fragments of his native culture with hip hop and grime beats. The combination is counterintuitive enough – and sufficiently well-executed – to make Inkanakuntu a must-listen.

This Boiler Room set is a good indication of the respect he’s earned. Note the reference to “godfather of hip hop in Ramallah.”

While it’s clear Muqata’a makes music that comes out of the hip hop tradition, he’s what a corporate nerd would call a change agent. The beats aren’t always identifiably hip hop. And while the pacing owes a lot to downtempo electronics, he just as often veers into straight-up noise making. Muqata’a isn’t pushing the envelope, he’s tearing it up and sampling it in the process.

Inkanakuntu deserves the kind of reception that Portishead’s Dummy received in 1994. Not just because of the grittiness the two discs share. This new release is so detailed, and so packed with beautiful detail that your volume dial won’t turn far enough clockwise.

Kevin Press

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