Reviews: Araabmuzik - Electronic Dream

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By Anupa Mistry

Before the drums hit, the first 15 seconds of Rhode Island MPC don Araabmuzik’s Electronic Dream sets up the airy, spectral premise for the subsequent ten tracks. Contributions to this past winter’s zany Dipset Trance Party mixtape provide the thematic roots for this debut album, but Araab proves he can translate fun, kind of tawdry kitsch into something beautiful, progressive and transcendent. A welcome reprieve from rap’s faddish obsession with electro-pop, Electronic Dream is studied, representing a new, largely untapped sample source. Gossamer synths and whispered vocals are stripped from the four-on-the-floor trappings of trance (Kaskade’s “4 A.M.,” Hiver & Hammer’s “Five Million Miles”), tempering Araab’s trademark rapid-fire percussion (YouTube him killing an MPC, if you haven’t already). Aerobic, double time climaxes collapse on the delicate “Streetz Tonight,” strangled animal squawks echo creepily through “Free Spirit” and melancholy drips from “Lost in a Maze,” thanks to desolate female vocals and an intermittent, “ayyy” thug salute. True to its title, Electronic Dream mirrors the vivid hallucinations of R.E.M. sleep – moving from euphoric to frenetic, calm to sinister – like the soundtrack of an MRI scan to your errant dreams.

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