When continents collide, they make a thunderous sound. Arabian fuzz, they term it, a vision that’s brazenly electric and deeply connected to its roots. Al- Qasar was started in the Barbès neighborhood of Paris in 2015 by US-French producer Thomas Attar Bellier. The musicians came together from France, Armenia, Turkey, and the United States.
The core touring lineup of the project includes Turkish psychedelic rock singer Sibel Durgut, French-Armenian drummer Sacha Viken and French bassist Guillaume Theoden. On Al-Qasar’s first full-length album, (out September 16 via Glitterbeat Records), bass, drums and percussion create an irresistible groove, while electric saz and guitars build a wailing wall above, with ecstatic Turkish and Arabic vocals inspired by history as it strides into the future. Like a psychedelic celebration on the dancefloor, it bristles with the kind of deep energy that makes Al-Qasar sound like the world’s most dangerous wedding band.
On “Who Are We?”, Thomas Attar Bellier’s hard-hitting production is augmented by the mixing ingenuity of Alain Johannes (PJ Harvey, Arctic Monkeys, QOTSA) and mastering expertise of Grammy-winner Dave Collins (Madonna, Soundgarden). Al-Qasar’s magnetic pull drew big names from around the world, such as The Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, NYC via Sudan innovator Alsarah, Algerian oud virtuoso Mehdi Haddab (Speed Caravan), and acclaimed Egyptian singer Hend Elrawy (Orange Blossom). Al-Qasar’s music never wavers, pulling from the hypnotic roots of North African trance and threading it into a fabric with the elaborate beauty of Arabic scales and the shock and thrill of rock’n’roll. The collective notably appeared at the following international festivals: Pukkelpop, WOMAD, Lowlands, Sziget, TransMusicales and Reeperbahn.
“Al-Qasar whip up a globalized psych-rock storm on this gutsy debut (...) A potent racket with gusto, passion, and outlaw swagger.”
“That’s pretty bitchin”
Iggy Pop on BBC6 Radio (Iggy Confidential)
“A very good album (...) Al-Qasar pull off the trick of making the most comfortable listener feel like they’re front and center in a moment of insurgency”