Zawali Fitness Club

29/03/19Tunisian Sonic Mastermind Ammar 808's New Single Is All About Survival

Tunisian producer and avid science fiction fan AMMAR 808, aka Sofyann Ben Youssef, just dropped our latest workout track, for free. The self-proclaimed "interstellar soldier on a quest for mean grooves and the lowest bass possible" has slowly been making a name for himself, as the "sonic mastermind behind Tunisian sensation 'Bargou 08'" (2017, Glitterbeat Records) and last year unleashed his debut solo release "Maghreb United", collaborating with several vocalists from the region, i.e. Mehdi Nassouli (Morocco), Sofiane Saidi (Algeria) and Cheb Hassen Tej (Tunisia). And, what's more, he has a vision:

"The past is a collective heritage," explains AMMAR 808. “It’s what we all call on, what we all share. [...] I’m trying to weave threads from folklore and mythology into futurism. And I’m not necessarily projecting a positive image; from all we can see, things aren’t going in the right direction. What I hope is that it will raise an alarm.” And so he works his Roland TR-808 drum machine magic to merge "pan-Maghreb beats, timeless voices and futurist visions", connect the past with the future and offer up "a radical, electronic reinvention of ancient North African music."

His new single entitled "Zawali Fitness Club" is available on a name-your-price basis via Bandcamp and features Cheb Hassen Tej. "Zawali in Tunisian dialect means 'the poor man.' This song is for them. People who are in extremely impoverished life (or survival) situations, are not a reality that the world is interested in. They are the first to be hurt, they are the first to be stamped on, they are the first to feel the economic crisis when it hits, they are the first and the last to taste the uncertainty of a system that is not made for them," writes AMMAR 808. Indeed, the relentless track cuts straight to the chase behind a furious beat and what might be the deliriously winding sounds of a zukrah. Watch the companion video below.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom