Al’Tarba is unclassifiable. As he is a joyful mess, writers who might want to do his biography would get lost as easily as Alice in her rabbit hole, even though the Toulousain is only 28.
Almost 10-year career, 5 albums and 2 EPs, many featuring, Al’Tarba is not a beginner anymore. Often true, statements about this hyperactive artist are only fragmented if we accept that they are.
To summarize: Coming from a family of music lovers, it is not surprising that he had his first band as a rapper as he was only in primary school. Then, when puberty hits, he will turn himself into Punk music, listening bands like Damned, the New-York Dolls or The Ramones. When he is out with his friends, Al’Tarba is glued to his skateboard, his ears full of Rancid or NOFX
At this time he met his future mates from Droogz Brigade. With them, Al’Tarba will discover Mobb Deep, Necro, or Wu Tang and will change his role as a (bad) bassist in a punk band to some solo experimentation, East Coast Style.
From there, alongside the musical walk with this always-curious tune-lover, he will be considered as pure hip hop beatmaker, dark, almost Horrocore as Necro or Stoupe would be.
To some people, he will be a great funky electro-swing composer, like Chinese Man, with the success of Mushroom Burger, Petite Maline or Sexy Coccinelle. As he is growing, so is his music, resulting in a flying abstract hip-hop as RJD2 or DJ Shadow..
Far from the beatmaker under influences, Al’Tarba devotes himself to be a solo artist claiming the complexity and abandoning the label of « purist » too often related to punk or hip-hop.
He is the creator of a whimsical, grandiose, sometimes ridiculous world where cartoons, genre films, comics gore, beautiful ladies and gangsters meet. In his world childhood‘s candor converges with violence and the adulthood’s ill-being.
The real world becomes a dreamlike vision with the track Let the Ghosts Sing. Conductor of a joyfully funeral ball, Al’Tarba is playing with piano, glockenspiel and guitar or trumpet organic sounds echo’s back by abstract beats and electro patch.
The album is filled with voices like a ghost whispering in our ears. Vaporous, the sampled voices never truly reveal themselves, and we’re not even sure if we heard them in the first place. At other times, the ghost take human form with the Tsigane singer Paloma Pradal from Bonnie Li, Jessica Fitoussi or the reggae girl Dantisa.
Let the Ghosts Sing could be the soundtrack for a Tim Burton movie, as we feel joy surrounded by death. Siberian Vengeance or Still Insomniac take us to a trip inside our own mind when Gangster & Rude Girls or My Vicious Side work as a carthasis, as we headbang our troubles away. That’s the strength of Al’Tarba and this opus, they bring us to an imaginary place where we face the nostalgia and spookiness of our childhood, while enjoying it as an adult.