Words by Manal Aziz
We got to catch up with self-proclaimed record archaeologist Hadj Sameer and ask him about three of his most recent findings.
Samir, who goes by the artist name Hadj Sameer, has been digging records for the past decade. Whereas some might find themselves attracted to a specific genre, Hadj Sameer enjoys a more chaotic approach in which he likes to be surprised by the depths of the unknown. By not focussing on a specific genre, he’s able to find music that broadens his musical background in a way more structured digging wouldn’t have. A refreshing approach in which the music itself - as an essence - becomes more important than the genre or way it’s classified or catalogued.
Read along for three of his most recent findings including personal commentary to spice up your music collection.
1. Armenia’s Jazz Orchestra – Mer Hin Doune
First up is an amazing LP of Armenian jazz from the 80s, released on an American label called Golden Age Recording. Hadj Sameer: “Most of the records that are catalogued are folk Classical Armenian music. Mer Hin Doune is the only jazzy and funky project from this Washington DC-based label, giving a unique tribute to the Armenian artists and bands.”
2. Tình ca tuổi trẻ – Various
Hadj Sameer: “This is definitely a Vietnamese masterpiece from the famous label Dihavina. Check it out when you have the chance. Although I have many records from this label that are still uncatalogued on discogs, some people used to rip then and upload entire records on YouTube. This one in particular has psychedelic vibes to it with a female voice on the instruments. It’s similar to the karaoke music bands that you would have found in the 70s during the Vietnam war at small clubs and bars in Hanoi. The voice is deep and both the melody and instruments are simply bewitching.”
3. Akwatik' – Akwatik
Hadj Sameer: “This third release I wanted to present is an obscure zouk project called Akwatik’, brought to you by a very famous French label named Moradisc. The label includes several other zouk projects of which the famous Patrick Saint Éloi’s first LP is one. The most interesting part of Akwatik’, however, is that we don’t know if they were a band or a single woman/man. Either way I love listening and playing those zouk songs incorporating synths and other keyboards, giving an even more groovy and clubby touch to these tracks. This is a definite must-have in my opinion.”
These are but samples of the broad musical spectrum in which Hadj Sameer operates. Which, he says, is also the most fascinating part of digging. It's not just discovering new music, but it's about finding correlations with genres you've already found, it's passing through the stories, the historic events, the migrations, the wars. Through digging, unearthing and reintroducing people to this music, Hadj Sameer invites you to his universe. And we feel welcomed.
Hadj Sameer is performing during Atlas Electronic 2019: Moving Forward which takes place from August 29 - September 1 in Marrakech, Morocco.