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New Album by Muqata’a Is Inspired by Alchemy

Muqata’a. Kamil Manqus Album, 2021
Muqata’a via Bandcamp

On February 5th the electronic producer Muqata’a, from the capital of Palestinian autonomy Ramallah, released his fifth album on Hundebiss Records. The record’s name, Kamil Manqus كَامِل مَنْقوص stands for “whole imperfect” or “perfect imperfect” in Arabic—the way Muqata’a describes his approach to working with sound which, “uses error not as mistakes but as possible breaks in an otherwise closed system.” On Kamil Manqus he blends sounds of local live radio, drum machines, synths, and field recordings with rough beats, abstract tonalities, and glitches. According to Muqata’a, on this record he was using Alchemy or “Simya”—an ancient Arabic science of combining numbers and alphabets to communicate with the unseen to get “the voices of his ancestors to appear throughout the album.”

Muqata’a is often called a godfather of the contemporary hip hop and electronic scene in Palestine. He began his path as a rapper under the Boikutt alias and in 2003 co-founded the Ramallah Underground collective, which has greatly influenced the new generation of local artists. He was one the first independent artists from Palestine who started to use music as a political weapon. His current project Muqata’a, which also means “boycott,” samples classic Arabic music, sounds of Israeli checkpoints at the entrance to Ramallah, and the chirps of military helicopters heard by its citizens on every day basis.

You can listen to and purchase the recording here.