Various Artists — 1970s Algerian Folk and Pop (Sublime Frequencies)
This LP is the Sublime Frequencies label’s third dip into Algeria’s turbulent airwaves. The first was one of the label’s patented radio compilations, and it gave an itchy-fingered survey of the nation’s cultural variety. Spin the dial and you might hit French and Arabic pop, desert music, raï, or film music. The second went deep, exposing the roots of raï, which was a soundtrack for youth rebellion before it got buffed up and turned into export fodder for the world music marketplace. 1970s Algerian Folk and Pop is a companion to 1970s Algerian Proto-Raï Underground, but it casts a much wider net. It shows that the diversity captured on Radio Algeria was not an anomaly, but also expresses a melancholy peculiar to its moment in time.