Cairo Liberation Front
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After being shown footage of Cairo-based keyboard virtuoso Islam Chipsy, the duo was triggered in that same rabid, life-changing fashion as when they first discovered rock music. In many ways, it felt like both revelation and revolution. After some extensive googling, Schmitz and Verhoeven discovered the cha3bi- movement was bubbling up in Cairo at a blistering pace, aptly coinciding with the Arab Spring.
Electro-cha3bi wasn’t just rousing, highly infectious and original music, it felt innately important to spread the word. In a burst of enthusiasm, Schmitz and Verhoeven assembled tracks and created mixtapes to promote cha3bi in Europe. With a sole motivation in mind: the music’s novel juxtaposition of Western and Middle-Eastern sounds, and the anarchic way these tracks come about… electro- cha3bi HAD to be heard all over the world.
In just their first year together, CLF’s infamy quickly mushroomed, publishing mixtapes for The Quietus, The Guardian and German radio station WDR. The
group earned publications from the likes New York Times, Afropop Worldwide and Okay Africa. The stirring CLF live shows caught on quickly as well, with electrifying sets at festivals such as Dour, Pukkelpop, Best Kept Secret, Amsterdam Dance Event, Incubate and Fusion. CLF expanded their oft- bewildering sets very organically, adding new visuals and a belly dance extravaganza to boot.
Over the next few years, CLF had to carefully reassess how to present their giddy quest to spread cutting-edge Middle-Eastern sounds to audiences around the world. To bolster this ideal further, they initiated, EURABIA, a self-curated club night inviting groundbreaking artists from all over the Middle-East, not just Egypt, namely Rizan Said, Acid Arab, Islam Chipsy, Maurice Louca and Mehmet Aslan.
After being exposed to so much new visionary music, Verhoeven and Schmitz were struck with a jolts of inspiration yet again. As it turns out, their love for electro-cha3bi was just the root of their own musical journey. Straight off, CLF became inspired to compose and create music themselves, using original ideas as a vessel to translate the EURABIA-spirit into a record. The first result is the EP Nymphaea Caerulea, a clash of CLF’s oblique Middle-Eastern-inspired sonics and the psychedelic jams of San Francisco-based beatmaker AI Lover. The record was released by Höga Nord Rekords.