Written By Ahmed Mohamed
Copy editor: Eliza Marks
You might have heard emerging EDM duo Mada’s tracks on SoundCloud. Khaled al Nweiran and Raed Massad skillfully combine their strengths to create effortlessly unique independent electronic music that integrates international influences and techniques of music production and authentic Jordanian and Arab sound and culture. Their style is captured in the group name; the arabic word, Mada, translates to “horizon,” a fitting title for this group that aims to push boundaries, cultural and aural.
This duo’s music adds unique identity to the rapidly expanding music landscape in the MENA region, and is sure to give its listeners a fun time. Though Mada was first is inspired by global electronic music, it now pushes the integration of electronic and authentic Arab music with their impressive hooks and catchy tunes.
Their album’s vision is about much more than just a “fun time.” Khaled Al-Nweiran, singer-songwriter of Mada, said that, “through music we can express and reflect upon our inner feelings about several subjects related to our culture, society and lifestyle, politics and how we can influence music positively.” Below, I critique the album track by track to look into just what these deeper meanings might be.
Track By Track
Introduction – A spoken-word recital of a famous quote given by Dr. Mustafa Mahmood, famous Egyptian philosopher and author.
Ya Theeb – The perfect follow up to the introduction. Khaled’s vocal range and deep, rich voice build a rich undercurrent for the building intensity through the beat drop. You won’t be able to resist the urge to dance along.
Bokra Ahla – The title track. It signals optimism, the theme of this album, and addresses the complexity of inner emotion and the ambition to do better. Listeners can feel the rhythm inside and out.
Khalina – The epitome of euphoria. This track is perhaps the most impressive on the album in its introduction and lyrics. The infectious beat carries listeners through the end and even to hit repeat.
Yalla Bena – The authentically unfamiliar. The band morphs and experiments with its essential voice form an aesthetically strong composition that showcases Mada’s excellence in production, lyrical composition, and rhythm.
Youm Ma Shoftek – The harmony of electronic music and vocals. Some might feel by this point in the album that the electronic overpowers the word, but this song delivers the counterbalance while still tempting listeners to dance along with fast-tempoed undercurrent.
Seebak Men Kalamhom – The perfect blend of Oriental and Arabic vibes and dominant electronic practices. The beat drop here is a favorite, solely carried by stings.
Bdewi – A song of pride. This track builds on the previous, and brings back vocals themes of the introduction. It’s like a remix of your favorite Arabic folk song.
Ma Khalas – Another song full of emotions and an ever-so-infectious beat. Egyptian colloquial accent pull together percussion and base of the chorus, surely bringing goosebumps to all.
Drum & Sham – Nine minutes of night club beauty. This long track is unsurprisingly the most viewed on YouTube, emerging and concluding with something absolutely beautiful that makes the nine minutes feel too short, perhaps. An electronic sampling of “Fok El Nakhal” begins in the second verse and mesmerizes listeners til the track closes, showing that electronic can shape the overall authenticity of the piece.
Bain El Nojoum – A dreamy closing track. It compliments the overall composition and production of the entire album, leaving the audience with wanting to play it through again and again.
This album scores 9/10 score, only slight vocals flaws detracting from a full mark. However, the collective musical talent of the group and true one-of-a-kind sound guarantee that this is a musical gem. I honestly did not expect the album to be so captiating when I undertook this review.
This album is blessed with a very strong and solid “replay factor,” which is evident from first listen. The album stands is particularly unique compared to most of the things I listen to. Honestly, it would be hard to find any comparable work of art, regardless of language, and illustrates music’s power to impact the listener.