"The Tunisian electronic scene is a heterogeneous and multiform complex organism, not following any regular rule," explains Tunisian DJ and producer Shinigami San. "You definitely have to live here, meet the people and listen to the music to understand it fully. Unfortunately, there's no real structure or support to develop this scene. Many artists just vanish."
Situated on Africa's northernmost peninsula, Tunisia's underground dance music community is bubbling - but it's a little-known pocket that shies away from the big mainstream. After more than a decade of advocating for the Tunisian club community, Shinigami San is helping to create a larger project that hopes to push the North African scene to the fore. 'Place: Tunisia' is the next instalment in the Place: series landing later this month via Air Texture. The 23-track non-profit compilation curated alongside fellow Tunisian artist Azu Tiwaline delves deeper into the Tunisian dance music scene, inviting all generations of producers to step up to the task.
"With these selections, I hope to give my input into discovering more of this flourishing scene through just a handful of artists that are directly or indirectly connected to the Air Texture compilation."
Check out 10 defining Tunisian electronic tracks curated by Shinigami San below.
CHEB TERRO 'BAGHDAD DISCO'
"Cheb Terro is the lost genius of the young artist's scene, driven by the heavy force Toxic Club. I sometimes feel that he is the voice of this generation, the post-revolution youth. He sadly passed away at the age of 24 in March 2021, leaving behind an empty space - a visionary who continues to haunt society."
DOVE MOLOTOV '٢٠٠٣'
HOUAIDA HEDFI 'ECHOS DE MEDJERDA'
"Houaida Hedfi is a genius artist who started playing drums, guitars and other instruments, now delivering some of the finest Tunisian quality on her album, 'Les Fleuves de l'Âme', produced by Olaf Dreijer of The Knife. She is a comet on her own, transporting a whole human and musical universe through her journey."
IMED ALIBI & KHALIL EPI 'NASHWA'
"A meeting between two extraordinary musicians, Imed Alibi and Khalil Epi, delivering some of the most exciting crossovers in modern and traditional Tunisian music. The resulting album, 'Frigya' (meaning 'Africa' in ancient Tunisian dialect) is the intersection between the two musicians and opposing sounds."
"As an MC, Tunisian artist KTYB developed an instinctive sense of groove and rhythmic positioning. He started as Katybon, now better known as KTYB, with collaborations supported by beatmaker Riadh Feddini who is responsible for the productions of artists like Med Amine Bouhrizi."
EMNA MAAREF 'THE COLLAPSE OF THE LAST ROW OF RESISTANCE'
"Emna is an artist who comes, uncommonly, from the Higher Institute of Music of Tunis, and is driving her way through sonic explorations. She is an oud player, a singer, and a music producer who uses just a laptop and online software to explore sonic storytelling."
MOHAMED HMIDA 'MAELSTRÖM'
"Mohamed Hmida is a young and inspiring producer whose latest EP, 'In Motion' just landed in March. He is also a music teacher collaborating with other projects all around the Tunisian scene - extremely promising and powerful."
"Benjemy is a poet whose work is driven deeply by word and sound. He started his career with influence from rock, metal and hardcore, which materialised into an amazing live performance. A powerful performer who plays live instruments, computers and visuals, and recently self-released his first album 'Sueurs Chaudes'."
"Virus2020 is an inspiring Tunisian artist exploring extreme approaches between dark ambient, meditative atmospheres, and extremely distorted dubstep among other genres. He just released his first album 'Khushue' (meaning 'révérence' in English), delivering some introspective sounds and vibrations."