ISLAM CHIPSY & E.E.K. (Egypt)
Islam Chipsy and his band E.E.K. are a three-way force of nature from Cairo, Egypt described by those who’ve been caught in the eye of their storm as one of the most exciting live propositions on the planet.
Electro chaabi keyboard pioneer Islam Chipsy’s joyous, freewheeling sonic blitz warps the standard oriental scale system into otherworldly shapes, flanked by Mohamed Karam and Mahmoud Refat raining down a percussive maelstrom behind dual drum kits.
100 Copies Music / Nashazphone released the electrifying live bootleg Live at the Cairo High Cinema Institute in 2014. This was followed in 2015 by the group’s debut studio album, entitled Kahraba. Recorded in late 2014 in downtown Cairo, it contains four tracks perfectly representing Chipsy’s wild and inimitable artistic spectrum, ranging from the frenzied sound signature technique that brought him his fame (Trinity and Kahraba) to the band’s individual manoeuverings of typical Egyptian standards such as the Northeastern Nile delta Simsimiyya in El-Bawaba or Upper Egypt’s traditional Mouled Saidi in Mouled El-Ghoul.
“Islam Chipsy’s performances have been the stuff of legend outside Egypt for several years now, thanks to the circulation of various still breathtaking YouTube clips of his group EEK… in unbridled hyper-kinetic flow at gigs, weddings and street parties, as well as a series of international shows
spoken of evangelically by those lucky enough to have seen them… They
push at boundaries of dance-based music that are widely known and understood… It is astonishing, exhilarating, inventive music by any measure” – The Wire
“I saw him at a street party in Giza where a few hundred people had amassed to dance and scream into the night. Flanked by Khaled Mando & Islam Tata, his two drummers pounding furiously as the signature tone of his synth intensified for almost two hours, Islam Chipsy demonstrated his completely revolutionary take on modern Egyptian Shaabi. The sound was raw and distorted, the volume was deafening, and the energy was high. 30 minutes into the set, the trio pulled out blindfolds and put them on, only to continue their virtuosic performance without missing a beat, synced to the max, playing forwards, backwards, sideways psychedelic noise and
showmanship projected through the distortion of a jet engine taking flight for some unknown location in the distant future of Shaabi sound. They were smiling and are very nice cats indeed, but when the PA system is blazing with their audio explosions, you best get up off your ass to dance or get the hell out of the way!” – Alan Bishop (Sublime Frequencies/Sun City Girls)
“In Cairo, the three-piece are usually hired to play large outdoor wedding celebrations and their sound has developed in tandem with a need to kickstart parties while often contending with battered old PA systems. Now, through playing indoors through really powerful rigs, their sound has morphed into something that is bordering on overwhelming… The beats are played at hyperspeed by two drummers who can switch styles and tempos without dropping a beat, adept at providing a rigid framework for a virtuoso keyboard player whose individual technique includes firing out bewilderingly fast blasts of tone clusters deployed by punching, slapping and karate-chopping his keyboard at such a frightening speed that his hands become a blur of movement. A truly unique experience” – The Guardian