In the early 1980s, long-forgotten Germand band Saâda Bonaire recorded a set of tracks that somehow succeeded at amalgamating the slick, polished sounds of electro and disco with Middle Eastern instrumentation and harmonic structures. Tragically, the project was scrapped at the last minute by its label, but Captured Tracks has recently unearthed and remastered all 13 tracks and plans to finally give them a proper release next month. We previously shared the striking single “You Could Be More As You Are,” but this stuff is simply too good to pass up the chance to write about, so below you can stream yet another song from album, “The Facts.” The unbelievable track begins with an aching woodwind line in a harmonic minor mode that vividly recalls the opening oboe solo of the “Danse Bacchanale” from French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saëns' opera Samson and Delilah. Shortly thereafter, a sharp, driving drum line materializes alongside a punchy, infectiously groovy synthesized bassline. Even more incredible is the dramatic, spoken-word incantations that Saâda Bonaire's female vocalist lays down on top of the instrumentation. This is remarkable stuff, but the last two minutes or so are particularly mind-boggling, featuring extended, harmonically ambiguous improvisation and the emphatic repetition of the titular two words.
Saâda Bonaire is out November 12 on Captured Tracks.
Saâda Bonaire should have been legendary. In 1983 they were ready to splash onto the scene, signing to EMI Electrola, recording their first single in Kraftwerk's studio, and working with producer Dennis Bovell (of such projects as Matumbi, Slits and Pop Group). German DJ Ralf Behrendt created the group in 1982, putting the spotlight on singers Stefanie Lange and Claudia Hossfeld-- who also worked as models-- and supporting them with a dynamic backup band made up of local musicians from Bremen. But somehow, the stars fell out of alignment. After the A&R rep working with Saâda Bonaire spent three times as much money as he was given for the project, EMI's financiers pulled the plug. The same guy-- a big spender in general-- had just worked on Tina Turner's "Private Dancer," which shot her up to a level of stardom EMI could no longer afford. So they cut off the spendthrift for good, cancelling all his future plans, including those for Saâda Bonaire. Before their untimely downfall, however, the duo had a chance to record eleven songs in addition to "You Could Be More As You Are," their official single. Captured Tracks has unearthed these tracks from the vaults, remastering them and acquiring the rights to finally share them with the world. "You Could Be More As You Are" shines as the hit that never was, strikingly modern, with dramatically direct vocals laid over an electro fusion of disco, dub, and Eastern instrumentation.
Saâda Bonaire's self-titled album is out November 12 on Captured Tracks.