Out from the sands of time comes Habibi Funk, the new sub-label from Jakarta Records dedicated to nothing but reissues of some of the best soul and R&B music ever made by artists hailing from North Africa and the Middle East. After uploading its very first single, the roving and tasteful 1972 cut “Soul Brother” from Tunisian ensemble Dalton, to Soundcloud, Habibi has followed it up with a new drop this week–a B side from Dalton entitled “Alech,” which packs a far less Westernized sound. Waltzing along to a flurry of percussion and high velocity bassline, “Alech” is the kind of tasteful foreign material that crate diggers dream of happening upon.
Which is exactly what happened to Jakarta Records exec Jannis Stürtz, who has logged countless hours digging in places like Cairo, Tunis, Morocco and Beirut during recent years. With a highly-trained eye, Stürtz pulled winner after winner, and put together two mixtapes dedicated to Habibi Funk (the second of which Okayplayer premiered earlier this year). The reaction was electrifying–Habibi Funk 002 received over 100,000 plays, and Stürtz moved quickly from mixtapes into a fully-formed sub-label. Now, Habibi Funk is prepping the physical 7″ reissue of Dalton’s two tracks, both of which are featured below. We’ve been made to believe that there’s a whole lot more where this came from; producers would be wise to keep both eyes on this new venture. Listen to Dalton’s “Alech” and “Soul Brother” below and get ready for much more funk from a region that’s gone grossly under-appreciated for far, far too long.