Electronic Blanket: Week 7

Sophie Ahmed on Dubai's music conference and a stunning electronic OST

30th November 2015

When I tell people I spent a short stint of life in Dubai, I’m bombarded with jealous remarks. Something along the lines of, "you must be gutted you moved here!". I had to suffer comments of this kind last week, when my Aunt who still lives in the Middle Eastern playground came to visit. "Surely, you miss that weather – that lifestyle!", she exclaimed. Well, that isn’t the case at all. Dubai lacks everything I’ve learned to love since leaving. Including electronic music, and well, culture.

Of course you would expect Dubai, model of the modern metropolis, to be in sync with all things technological including EDM. This is the impression which is given off to the rest of the world, as it is set to host a new electronic music conference in 2016, where producers and record labels will connect in a country which really knows very little about their genre. This seems hard to believe in light of the news this month that, Dubai has set the new world record for the longest back-to-back DJ relay. Take one look at footage of this event, however, and "relay" becomes really lame. It opens with a naff remix of Robin S’s ‘Show Me Love’, a banger by all means but not one that will put Dubai on the musical map. And the DJs themselves – all 151 of them - look as uninspired by what they’re doing as the static spectators. Once again, quantity is more important than quality in this rich kid’s paradise. Perhaps electronic music is too hard-core in this distant land where 2 men were arrested for going to the mall at 4am in pyjamas. Club dance floors have seen far worse crimes.

You Need To Hear: The soundtrack to ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’

Crossing the Persian Gulf from Dubai to Iran, there is huge hype surrounding Ana Lily Amirpour’s recent Vampire film, set in ‘the Iranian ghost town of Bad City’. I can’t stress enough that the entire soundtrack for this is bloody brilliant. But, to make it relevant to this column I’ll plead you to listen to a techno track by The Free Electric Band, which compliments a memorable scene in which the intoxicated drug-dealer pimp named Saeed tries but fatally fails to seduce a vampire through his dancing. If that hasn’t excited your curiosity enough to make you watch this movie, you SUCK – pun and offence intended. The film really is an example of Western and Middle Eastern cultures merging in beautiful harmony. Another product of this process is a bewitching track I discovered the other day entitled ‘AMK’ by dub-step trio Kahn, Commodo and Gantz. Let’s just say it allows us to fantasise of a more authentic Arabia than Dubai.

Listen To: The Free Electric Band – ‘Bashy’

Preview: Troupe Presents: My Nu Leng, 4th December, Cosmic Ballroom

From one sinister-sounding track to another, my body is ready for the Bristol-based boys of My Nu Leng to bring the bass to the Ballroom with the likes of ‘Masterplan’. Here’s a duo renowned for teasing the crowd to its limits with the drop, and when it finally descends it’s simultaneously the most destructive and most delicate feeling in the world. This night is going to sit somewhere in between charged and chilled, or it could go extremely either way. It will also mark my big return to Cosmic after around 2 months, so I’m definitely going to stage my entrance to ‘You’ve Been Gone’, and I’m expecting a round of applause.

Sophie Ahmed

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