Mutamassik Reekez  

review on OndaRock

by Roberto Rizzo ( jan 2013 )


Mutamassik è, assieme a Filastine, il nome di cui più si è parlato negli ultimi tempi in riferimento a un modo del tutto nuovo di intendere lo stile e l’espressione breakcore. Nuovo non tanto per il fatto di spostare le coordinate di genere, quanto per il contesto completamente diverso da cui prende forma, una condizione in cui la componente personale e psicologica gioca in centravanti e la biografia dei suoi interpreti è lì, tangibilissima, in superficie.
In più, il nome di Mutamassik è legato a doppio filo con la rete di artiste e dj al femminile brulicante nel sottosuolo musicale maghrebino e mediorientale, venuta parzialmente alla ribalta in particolare in seguito alla primavera araba, con il rinnovato interesse di alcuni media europei nei confronti dei movimenti culturali all’ombra dei minareti.

La storia di Mutamassik del resto è il paradigma dell’Einwanderer nordafricano contemporaneo: nata nel Belpaese da madre egiziana (da cui il nome italianissimo di Giulia Lolli) e in continua migrazione tra il Cairo, gli Stati Uniti e l’Italia, dove di recente ha deciso di rimettere le tende.
Il suono di “Rekkez”, album numero tre nella sua discografia, appare di conseguenza instabile e frammentato, ancora più precario e cupo rispetto ai lavori precedenti.
Le percussioni egiziane suonate interamente dalla Lolli, che costituiscono il nucleo del progetto, vengono cosi scratchate e sporcate in continuazione, cozzando consapevolmente contro ogni facile e accomodante intento danzereccio o ento-ambientale, con “Nawal” come unica, timida, concessione a un beat più liquido, dalle parti di uno strano trip-hop a tinte tribali. Frasi di synth, field recording e intercettazioni radio completano e infittiscono questa maglia astrattissima e impenetrabile.

Quello che ci ritroviamo tra le mani è qualcosa di totalmente atipico e incompromissorio (fin troppo, si potrebbe obiettare), né piacevole esotismo da narrativa da viaggio, né musica politicamente orientata e impegnata, bensì un asciutto groviglio psicologico frutto di instabilità e confusione culturale. Un quadro asfissiante, figlio del suo tempo, sfogo e improbabile panacea di tensioni irrisolte.



review on Souciant

by Ron Nachmann ( dec 2012 )


Besides their release this year in beautifully packaged vinyl editions, and use of Mediterranean field recordings, Mutamassik’s album Rekkez, and Savage Republic’s Varvakios LP, don’t seem to have a lot in common. However, both come from an aesthetic of fatalistic, yet rebellious, sonic energy, fuelled by an urgency to burst into a future weighed down by ancient history.


Mutamassik is the sonic guise of Giulia Loli, a musician/producer born of Italian and Coptic Egyptian parentage. Loli watched from Italy as the Egyptian revolution blew up in her former hometown of Cairo, and resulted partly in electoral victory for the Muslim Brotherhood and attacks on her Coptic community. Her 2012 album Rekkez finds her combining traditional percussion instruments like the riq, the mazhar, and the doufwith cello across digital beat and noise arrangements. Loli herself calls the album

…a collection of tracks resembling pages torn from a tormented diary, with a complex array of emotions (anger, angst, gloom, pride, faith, isolation, anguish, etc).

Loli’s music rests on beats, but not in the clean, mechanized style that rules post-hip-hop electronic dance music. Her beats—both digital and hand-pounded—contain a physically and politically tangible ambience, as if you might find them resounding throughout a tumultuous Cairo marketplace or propelling a demonstration in Tahrir Square.

Uniquely, you can almost approach Rekkez from the outside in, in that parts one and two of the title track are like harsh percussive fortress walls at the beginning and near-end of the album. The heart of the LP is no less intense. The “Dr. Aida”/”Nawal” suite offers up a loping, reverberant boom-bass drum sound with grinding metal percussion, while “Rawa’a”’s rancorous rhythm loops offset the churning cello work and sampled chants on the downtempo “Coptic Guts.”

Rekkez reaches a peak of intimacy with the ambient pieces “In Labs Near Fields” and ”In Fields Near Labs,” both of which blend agonized cello and bells with the field-recorded sounds of footsteps, sirens, and a village brass band playing on a radio in the background. Loli draws you in with these reprieves from the rhythms, and in the process gives Rekkez that much more heft.

“It’s easy to destroy, but now we gotta build…” murmurs Loli at the end of the album. Seems like an ideal aphorism for the 21st century Mediterranean.

Rekkez is available on limited-edition vinyl from Norman RecordsMidheaven Mailorder and Tedium House



review on Gonzo Circus

by Seb Bassleer ( dec 2012 )


Door de jaren heen heeft Giulia Loli alias Mutamassik nooit stilgezeten. Samenwerkingen met David ByrneMarc Ribot,Arto LindsayIkue MoriKaffe Matthews en anderen hebben haar revue gepasseerd. Verder doet ze samen met manlief Morgen Craft het Rough Americana project waarbij noiserock en etnische sferen elkaar ruw doorkruisen. Hardvochtigheid is de puurste term voor Lolis klank en binnen het rebelse wereldje van etnische elektronische muziek is Mutamassik een naam van faam, vooral sinds de ‘Bidoun Sessions’ mixtape met DJ/Rupture en haar sterke debuutalbum ‘Masri Mokkassar’. Met ‘Rekkez’ op het Brusselse Inu.Itu label kijkt ze naar de huidige toestand in Egypte, daar ze zelf een halfbloed Koptische Egyptische is via moeders zijde, en sociopolitiek voert hier de boventoon met kruisreferenties. De opener ‘Rekkez’ grijpt ons direct bij de keel met een intro van vrouwenzang gevolgd door zware Egyptische percussiebeats en samples van protesten aangedreven door een doordringende melodie van elektronische hoorn. Wreck the old structures, the need to implement new ones, is haar boodschap. ‘Dr Aida’ vervolgt met slepende Arabische percussie, flarden van instrumenten en effecten, terwijl in ‘Nawal’ etnische hiphop beats en haar eigen cellospel met elkaar worden verweven. Lawaaierige soundscapes en samples draaien voorbij totdat in ‘Coptic Guts’ wat Rough Americana weerklinkt. In ‘Broken Record’ spreekt ze klare taal en krakerige zang met eigen stem. Kant B kiest iets meer voor ingetogen drones en beats zoals in ‘Rawa’a’ en ‘Wishik’ met donkere cellolagen. ‘Human Shield’ begint rustig, maar de cello slaat snel over naar overdrive en een aftellend tikkend ritme raast door de compositie; het is de analogie van de zelfmoordterrorist die het lichaam gebruikt om zijn naasten te beschermen/beschadigen. Een uiterst sublieme conceptuele plaat die om veel herhaalde luisterbeurten vraagt. In zeer beperkte oplage gedrukt en als bonus een poster van eigen schilderij, dus wees héél snel.



review on Pop Expeditives

by Pierre Cécile ( oct 2012 )

Le monde du Mutamassik de Giulia Loli tourne à la vitesse des volutes orientales (sur son site internet, elle parle de « pan-afrabic immigrant sound sources ») que l’on trouve sur ce LP, Rekkez. De ce monde, s’échappent des voix qui se superposent, des cordes qui les mettent en valeur à tel point qu’on a d’abord l’impression d’écouter un disque Ocora retouché malicieusement par Fennesz. Face B, la musique perd un peu en envergure au profit d’un travail expérimental d’un foutraque simpliste ou jubila-toire. 



staff pick on A-Musik's Blog

by Georg Odijk ? ( oct 2012 )


a-musik staff picks August 2012

Jean Dubuffet, Experiences Musicales de Jean Dubuffet (II) 2CD (Rumpsti Pumsti (Edition))
Mats Gustafsson / Paal Nilssen-Love, I love it when you snore LP (Weird Forest)
Russell Haswell, Remixed 12" (Downwards)
Jeremiah Jay, Raw Money Raps 2LP/CD (Brainfeeder)
The Kings of Dubrock, Fettucini 2LP/CD (Staatsakt)
Maria Minerva, Will happiness find me? LP/CD (Not Not Fun)
Mutamassik, Rekkez LP (Ini.tu)
Bernard Parmegiani, L'oeil ecoute / Dedans-dehors LP (Recollection GRM)
Alexander Ross, Grandfather Paradox LP (Vauva)
V.A., John Cage Shock 2LP/3CD (EM Records)



review on Textura

by Ron Schepper ( oct 2012 )


Two new vinyl releases from ini.itu provide dramatically different listening experiences. On the one hand, we've got Mutamassik's fusion of exotic Egyptian sounds and hip-hop-inflected breaks; on the other, there's Steve Roden, a familiar name known for his idiosyncratic take on “lowercase” sound sculpting.

Born in Italy to an Egyptian mother, Giulia Loli chose her Mutamassik alias well, given that it means tenacity in Arabic. Her raw sound—sometimes labeled Sa'aidi hardcore and Baladi breakbeats—is certainly tenacious, but it's also notable for being so distinctive: how many other artists can you name who're working in her particular corner of the instrumental hip-hop universe? On Rekkez, her first vinyl release in over eight years, the music's pretty much what one might expect—serpentine, chant-like melodies and fragmented voice samples meld sinuously with deep bass rumble and head-nodding funk and hip-hop rhythms—though it's no less appealing for meeting up with one's expectations; in that regard, it forms an unbroken line from the Sound Ink collection, Masri Mokkassar: Definitive Works, that we reviewed in 2005, despite the amount of time separating the releases. An occasional turntable scratch surfaces amongst the exotica to render the collision of East and West explicit, and Loli threads her own playing of instruments (re'qs, mazhar, douf, cello, drums, keyboards, SP1200, Akai S3000) in amongst ululating voices and field recordings (animals, people, traffic, etc.) originating from Tuscany, Egypt, and other locations. Coated in dust and grime, the material on the forty-minute album's generally raw and fuzzy, often subtly menacing in tone, and sometimes exudes a druggy vibe in its woozy beat patterning. Adding to the release's individuating character, the album (250 copies available) includes a striking large-format poster (twenty-three by thirty-three inches) designed and painted by Loli herself.



review on ATTN:Magazine

by Jack Chuter ( oct 2012 )


Who knows if Mutamassik’s bizarre stylistic mesh is the direct result of her multicultural upbringing, but it certainly feels as though it’s played a part. Having been born in Italy to an Egyptian mother, Guilia Loli moved between Egypt and the USA before returning to Italy once again; Rekkez feels like a hazy memory of this country-hopping past, riddled with chronological slip ups and cultural confusions, with shards of her Egyptian heritage misplaced into the company of vocodered whines and synthesiser inflections.

The rhythms are particularly gorgeous aspect, comprising a delightful array of Egyptian percussion (all of which played with gusto by Guilia herself) stacked into loops that jangle and thud in a manner that feels both lively and incredibly precise. The listener is boldly encouraged to dance, but frequently challenged with the question of how this “dancing” should manifest – often the rhythms stagger and clatter in a fashion that I can’t imagine sits kindly with the standard dance repertoire of most, thus leaving the listener decipher how best to channel their impulsive will to move.

The album is also littered with field recordings taken from various locations (Tuscany and Egypt included), which dot the hypnotic loops of beat with snatches of conversation, dog barks and traffic noise. Where as the rhythmic loops are often edited together with clinical precision – thus maintaining the music’s fluidity and momentum – these raw sonic documents of Guilia’s personal experiences are laid somewhat more untidily over the work. They burst into life and cut out abruptly, making visible the seams of the creative process; it’s a fantastic aspect of the album, likening it to travel diary into which Guilia has hastily stuck down her scraps of memory and experience.



review on Norman Records

by ReviewBot3000 ( sep 2012 )


Mutamassik, the alias of Giulia Loli, who has spent her life thus far between Italy, Egypt and the United States, is back with another full-lengther of dark hip-hop beats and hardcore breaks with lots of Egyptian percussion. It comes with a giant poster and 12 tracks of dark, hypnotic Madlib-meets-Muslimgauze downbeat East-meets-West hip-hop stylings, sometimes, such as in ‘Rawa’a’ taking things down to almost nothing for some almost dark ambient cyclical post-dub post-Moondogisms, while other tracks like opener ‘Rekkez’ provide almost irresistible bumpy grooves.

As the album goes on it seems to get more awkward and sparse and less beat-driven, with weird disjointed sounds, slow wonk-grooves and more of a dark ambient feel than a hip-hop one, although an understated reprise of the title track offers a little percussive respite. Phil says, “Just say it sounds like Muslimgauze”.



review on Vital Weekly 846

by Frans de Waard ( sep 2012 )


In a handwritten note along these two LPs, mister Ini.Itu expects that the LP by Mutamassik is 'an awkward thing' for Vital Weekly. I had never heard of Mutamassik, the brainchild of Giulia Loli, who 'merges Egyptian percussion with hardcore breaks. The result, sometimes dubbed Sa'aidi hardcore & Baladi breakbeats is a mutant, syncopated form of instrumental hip-hop'. She is from Italy and has worked with David Byrne, Ikue Mori, Kaffe Matthews and others - one could do worse, I think. I guess this is the first record on Ini.Itu that doesn't deal with Indonesia, but then at least with something else from what is wrongly called 'world music'. This release is hardly an awkward thing for me, as it sounds pretty interesting. Lots of beat material - nothing wrong there - which sometimes works along the moves of hip hop - nothing wrong there either, but perhaps not always a personal favorite - with some crude samples thrown in for good measure and slices of field recordings and something that may or may be vocal like. This is surely an odd release. I must admit that the hardcore breaks promised via the press release made me think of something else, but its not a wild breakcore/hardcore break by any means. Actually its much more sophisticated than I expected. A strange mixture of ethnical beats and 'modern' electronics. A reference to the work of Muslimgauze is easily made, but Mutamassik has more extended passages of experimental soundscapes mixed in these songs and in between the songs. Although perhaps not entirely my cup of tea, I thought this was all quite good, a great surprise!



review on Metamkine.

( aug 2012 )


Edition limitée de 250 copies avec poster couleur. Un projet de Giulia Loli qui marque la rencontre de percussions proche-orientales avec des ruptures en provenance des musiques électroniques de danse. ' des mélopées de minarets se croisent dans un magma de sons urbains, structurés par d'impressionnants alliages rythmiques'. [Le Monde]. Mais rassurez-vous, on est plus proche des atmosphères d'un duo comme celui de Benjamin Lew et Stephen Brown que de la pseudo trance au kilomètre d'un Muslimgauze.



review on Toolbox.

( aug 2012 )


Beautyfull organic noise with middle oriental beats, sounds coming in the heat of summer... Of course difficult to escape the cliche to say it is close from Muslimgauze sounds. Superb. This LP comes with a poster.


review on Boomkat.

+ RECOMMENDED (16 august 2012)


**Individually hand-numbered edition of 250 copies for the world, includes a giant full colour 23"x23" poster designed and painted by the artist** Well, this is a welcome turn up for the books: hardcore Egyptian/Italian beat-breaker Giulia Loli aka Mutamassik returns with her first vinyl release in over eight years. It's the first we've heard from her since that killer 12" on Sound Ink, and the best we've heard since her mighty 'War Booty' on DJ/Rupture's Soot label - although we admit to not hearing the intervening digital drop 'That Which Death Cannot Destroy' in 2010. Anyway, she's back and doing that tumultuous, destroyed mid-eastern percussion thing armed with fragmented samples of Re'qs, Mazhar, Douf and Cello spat off her SP1200 and Akai S3000, old skool styles. It's a sound quite unlike any we can think of, 'cept for maybe DJ/Rupture; dense, anxious, and frayed shots of roiling Hip Hop fused with exotic North African instrumentation, electronics and field recordings made in California and Tuscany. There's nuff fuzz and humid, close atmospheres, maintaining an urgent sort of pressure throughout, but also liable to turn hazy, hashed out and menacing. So so heavy...