With their third album "Les Riam" (The Gazelles, slang for "Girls"), AHLAM (The Dreams) from Marrakech take you on a trip through the popular "Shabee" world of restorative and hallucinatory visions of love, escaping this time at least from their "Jeel" (socialpolitical lyrics) attachement. The very strong feeling of affection towards a blinded physical notion of helplessness and based on a traditional-fusion delirium, is guiding you now to the popular sights of Moroccan, Iraqi and Algerian tracks, while the others songs are new AHLAM compositions inna di typical squalor from the ghetto. James Lien from CMJ once described the music of AHLAM as " ...a North African brand of dub, hip-hop and Arabic pop that speaks directly to a generation of youth in America and Africa that is sorely in need of a new political and social basis for their lives, one that bands like Ahlam hopes to provide..dizzying, a trance made of equal parts anger and hope, ancient roots and futuristic groove..." . Even if Dub, Reggae, House , Rap and Tekno have a much more important impact on the Moroccan youth`s or musician`s development than we can imagine, here on "Les Riam" the relation to oriental roots is still omnipresent and was crucial for the selection of the tracks. While recording "Acting Salam" (Barbarity 009) and "Agdal Reptiles on Majoun" (Barbarity 007), the jams snd studio sessions in Casablanca provided the idea of working on a purely Shabee-oriented album; Cheb Youssef from Amïra Saqati and AKJE began to rock the house with Cheb Fajer, giving birth to the necessity of giving all their attention to this project. Carried by a slow and heavy Egyptian wedding beat, the intro track "Daiz" (He passed by) treats the subject of a lost and forgotten relationship between two friends. "Flouss $" (Money), is a traditional song about poverty and skint people, sung by Samira and Hayatt, two girls who just happened to pass by the studio and had their first contact with a microphone; unfortunately we forgot to exchange addresses, so this track might remain Inchallah, a unique trace. A slightly Clintonesque P-Funk Rap can be heard on "El Arap", a song about poor people pretending they are rich with trendy clothes and cars, and finally have to sell their car wheels or their children`s school books to buy shoes. On tracks 5,9 and 11, Abderrahim Akkaoui appears, whose deep and rough voice brings a nasty "Bedaoui" street-flavour (Casablanca slang) to the whole "Marrakchi ambience"; on the other hand he imparts a romantic psychedelic feeling as on:
"EL LIL TAH" (The night is falling)
I`m walking alone in the forest, while the trees are talking to me
I can hear the birds cry, and I wonder which way to go
The night is falling and I still have not found my love
But somewhere on the mountain top I can see a fire
Giving me the light to understand that you will be there
Inspired by Gnawa harmonies and having originally only "Cracksh" (metallic castanets) as a rhythmic section, the brutal "Aji Awa" (Come here), became by organic mutations a sort of Jungle-Leftfield Gazelles-hunting piece. So have your mind stimulated by the result of multilateral AHLAM vibrations travelling through the air of the burning skies, Ya Habibi ...