I guess this is how the internet works. Electronic Dream 2, Araabmuzik’s supposed sequel to his critically acclaimed debut album Electronic Dream, was uploaded to eMusic’s website in early September, and quickly taken down. The official word from Araabmuzik’s representatives was that this version of the album is “not the album”. But the “You’re listening to Araabmuzik” tags and the signature MPC technical wizardry made it was pretty obvious who did these tracks.
Electronic Dream was primarily edits of vintage Hardcore Techno, which somehow found an audience ready to embrace “Underground Stream” by DJ Nosferatu, which before Araabmuzik wasn’t a song people were jumping to sample. This was a 180 degree turn for Araabmuzik, whose reputation was based on his MPC technical skill. But Araabmuzik with this album and his increasingly recognized live shows to push beyond just being a rap beat maker.
He’s played shows with dubstep superstar Skrillex and is now touring with the constantly being talked about indie band Sleigh Bells. And has produced for 50 Cent, Swizz Beatz, and the rising New York crew A$AP Mob. This confluence of styles can be heard in his live shows, where he can recreate intense drum & bass’s drum patterns on the spot; disassembles massive dubstep drops and still find ways to sneak in a few rap tracks. So, when I got a copy of this elusive “album”, I was excited by where Araabmuzik would take the project.
The first listen of Electronic Dream 2 was underwhelming; I chalked it up to being in a poor mood and gave the album another chance. Again, unimpressed. The albumshifted from lively 90s Trance samples to a bloated stadium filling EDM sound; unfortunately a bit more Deadmau5, who Araabmuzik’s sampled before, rather than the larger pop leanings of Guetta or even Tiesto. The ephemeral feeling of “I know this song, but cannot name it right now” that made Electronic Dream such a unique listening experience became lost when the album’s modern influences are so clearly tangible.
Not to harp on minor details—especially for an “unfinished” project—but the place holder names: “Miami Vice”, “Bass” and “Turn It Up” are the most perfunctory descriptions of the songs leaving nothing to a listener’s imagination. Not that Electronic Dream had great song titles—”Lift Off” and “Lost In a Maze”—but after a dozen listens an element of surprise is still had in the album, because of Araabmuzik’s fine tweaks.
Electronic Dream 2 does not have that mystery. The album’s fist-pumping mood sets in quickly as the listening degrades into hoping the next track won’t have a dubstep drop and wondering if the track was originally meant for a rapper, as it sounds more like an instrumental than a own stand-alone track. This album is “unfinished”, so it would be a bit unfair to harshly judge Araabmuzik for a leaked project. Yet, this accidental release shows the amount of talent and skill required to juggle all of these various genres and styles.