Monkey Nenufar – 2 Monkeys in the Oud EP

Label: Cosmo Records
Artist: Monkey Nenufar (Ben Vedren & Leiris)
Feat: Jamal Nouman, Saad El Bouaamri
Title: 2 Monkeys In The Oud
Cat. No.: COSMO014
Format: Vinyl Only
Release Date: TBA

About the release:

French producers Ben Vedren and Leiris first came together with an EP on Minibar back in 2014 before launching their Monkey Nenufar project in 2016 as a vessel for their most intricate and psychoactive tracks. It’s the perfect scenario for another intriguing cross-cultural collaboration on Cosmo Records, exploring the space between Western club sounds and traditional Moroccan musicianship.

“Cosmos 2018” opens the EP with a chance for Monkey Nenufar to explore their sound on their own terms, using a dynamic set of drums with a live, hand-played feel as the basis for a meditative spread of melodic flourishes, displaced sound design and airy pads. It’s a track that feels purpose built for starry skies, crammed full of infectious energy but executed with a soothing demeanour to nourish the soul.

By way of contrast, “Heode” feels much more direct in its execution. The techno framework of the track charges ahead with purpose, setting the scene for Jamal Nouman’s distinctive vocals to come sweeping into the mix. Nouman can be heard singing an Andalusian-Arabic Mawwal, a style that demands a high level of vocal prowess from the singer. Vedren and Leiris maximise on the unusual sounds Nouman’s vocals produce, threading them in between the beats to create a functional yet entirely otherworldly dancefloor track.

“2 Monkeys In The Oud” presents yet another unique approach as Cosmo regular Saad El Bouaamri comes back to the label. El Bouaamri has appeared previously playing violin on Yes’in’s “We Come In Peace” and playing oud on Pier Bucci’s “10 Dias.” In this latest appearance on the label he’s working the oud once again, and Vedren and Leiris provide a complex and ever-shifting backdrop of high-definition production for his playing to merge with. It’s a head-spinning track that mutates and evolves through all manner of organic and electronic sound sources, pushing the traditional tones of El Bouaamri’s playing into a strange new sphere.

The flexibility in Monkey Nenufar’s sound makes for the perfect match for the Cosmo Records philosophy, exploring a range of styles and using a broad sound palette with a shared focus on pushing forwards. It’s this futuristic context that Cosmo wants to place the traditional sounds of Morocco in, and as ever the results are truly spellbinding.