Cee ElAssaad was one of two producers (along with FNX Omar) to represent Morocco in the top ten of Traxsource Top 100 Afro House Artists of 2018. Although he doesn’t believe in categorizing his sound, he says that it’s his tribal twist that has him put into the Afro House genre. He also describes his sound as “… soulful, and it may contain an acid or even a jazzy touch … it just depends on my feeling.”
Over the duration of my time collaborating with electronic musicians with Husa Sounds and for my work at York University, one of the major themes that tends to come up in conversation is the way that artists feel their way through their production. As someone who is a classically trained musician and who has spent their entire adult life working to write for universities and journals, I have always been taught to have a structure before beginning the creative process – there’s a time when some sort of improvisation can happen, but there’s a general idea of where things will go. This is a kind of pre-determined method, where the creator is thinking about the outcome before even sitting down to their work. Cee ElAssaad, and many of the other successful artists I’ve talked to, suggest that their method is completely the opposite. “When I get in the studio I don’t decide what I’m going to make, I just follow my feelings,” he says, “I’m not the kind of producer who thinks about what’s gonna work or who tries to make a particular sound that DJs are gonna play – all I do while making music is feel.” So what does it mean to just feel? I like to think of it as an experience where the body takes over and the process of thought shuts off, making the experience tactile and, of course, sonic, listening and touching – feeling – for what comes next.
Cee ElAssaad has a remix series that he has been producing for the past couple of years that he calls Voodoo Mix, a series that he states is the epitome of his style: a mixture of African music and electronic neo music, incorporating a lot of African rhythms and percussion instruments as well as synthesizers and uplifting arpeggios. He calls it Voodoo mix because of his interest in Yoruba culture and voodooism, which is known to be a belief system that has influenced others in their respective diasporic contexts. Just as voodoo represents synthesis, Cee ElAssaad’s music combines these different regional acoustic, traditional and electronic elements to produce something unique. I find this to be parallel in many ways to Moroccan underground esoteric cultures of magic that combine with more orthodox spiritual practices to produce new forms of being in the world; subtle differences of being that have been written about for years by anthropologists such as Clifford Geertz. Cee ElAssaad’s music, his craft that he doesn’t like to categorize, but that embodies all of these African, tribal, and soulful elements, is the perfect depiction of this concept of voodooism as well as Moroccanness, and shows the ways that cultures continuously influence each other in their production.
His latest remix for South African artist, George Lesley’s single “Izulu”, has been released on respected Afro House label, Mercumbe Recordings. George Lesley’s “Izulu” was released last year on his album, “My Journey”, and made Traxsource’s top 10 best albums of 2018.
Check out the youtube premier of Cee ElAssaad’s Voodoo Remix of “Izulu” by George Lesley, feat. Andiswa: