RIYL: North and West African music; sunsets; genre fluidity
ATLANTIQUE may have been released last November, but De.Ville’s three-track EP is ready for your summer music rotation—which is not to say that this is your usual mindless, hot-weather pop. While mellow funk hooks, soothing sax solos, and velvety vocals are transplanted from the duo’s previous works, Montréal/Moroccan Ziad Qoulaii and Simon Pierre hit a deeper nerve on their latest offering.
Set as a three-part story originally intended as a movie score, ATLANTIQUE is dedicated to migrants “And to all those whom the waves will rock forever.” The album’s title track, sung in Arabic—like most of the group’s work—is a strong and emotive callback to the group’s ties to Morocco, weaving traditional instrumentation and modern cues. As the second act in the story, “Dopamina” is a poppy, love-centred moment of celebration. “Water” closes ATLANTIQUE not with a bang but a muted sax line, imparting the story with an open end.
At times, ATLANTIQUE sounds like a sunset, radiating the gut-wrenching feeling of observing something beautiful. Everything that can be admired also contains the absence of those left behind. In this way, ATLANTIQUE‘s dedication to migrant struggle is both stated and unspoken.
– Katerina Stamadianos