Today, Canadian-Algerian multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, producer and DJ, Aladean Kheroufi announces Studies In A Dying Love, his debut album out June 7th via Toronto-based label We Are Busy Bodies. A stunning and cathartic portrait of a relationship’s collapse, Aladean looks to classic soul, forgotten Chicano rhythms and dreamy folk-rock for an emotional dive into the ebbs and flows of the heart. It is accompanied by the release of lead single ‘Why Do You Call For Rain?’. 

Created at his Ninth Street Sound studio in Edmonton, Canada over an extended period between 2019 to 2023, the album soundtracks the evolution of heartbreak. “The space is in the basement of a restaurant with no windows,” states Kheroufi, who also goes by Cheb Khero. “It was pretty easy to get lost down there. To me, the sign of a good song is that it takes as long to write it as it does to sing it. The closer to the heart the better.” 

Today’s single, ‘Why Do You Call For Rain?’ is a hazy, psych-infused, soul ballad that puts his breaking emotions front and centre, while he battles with the demise of a relationship. “It’s about the point where I realized that the relationship I was in was falling apart. Even if I knew that was for the best, I wanted nothing more than to hold on to what was bound to end.” Pulling in-and-out with an echoing synth, before his voice and guitars patter through, Kheroufi soon pleads, “no fortune or fame could ever be the same as the love that you give.” The track reaches a crescendo as echoes of “oh no” swirl around the organ, until the guitar chorus zips back, to rein the brief cacophony into familiar focus for the finale. 

Aladean writes songs that are idiosyncratic, soulful and devastating – with a glass-half-full optimism that turns heartache into melancholy party anthems. Drawing inspiration from legendary songwriters such as Curtis Mayfield and Neil Young, combined with a deep passion for hook-laden soul singles, Aladean has created an achingly warm and sophisticated album, with emotive songwriting that explores the complexities of a love lost.  Recorded using a selection of analog techniques and instruments, including an original 1970s Tascam 8 track machine, the album has an old soul sound, ultimately informed by his time working at The Daptone House of Soul under the tutelage of Wayne Gordon (Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, badbadnotgood, Mark Ronson).

Across its 11-tracks, Aladean plays bass, organ, synthesizers, guitar, percussion, vibraphone and piano, with support from a slew of beloved friends and collaborators. “This record is the result of community. I was always able to call my friends when I needed a helping hand or a second opinion. If it wasn’t for the people around me,  I wouldn’t know who I am.” Influenced by the poetic proto-rap musicality of artists like Gil Scott-Heron and Lightning Rod, the album features two spoken word tracks – ‘Arab Brother Rap #1’ and ‘I’ve Been Travelling (Arab Brother Rap #2). This record is a family affair in every sense: Aladean’s father is featured rapping in Arabic on ‘Arab Rap #2’, accompanied by nostalgic organ riffs.

First released as a limited soul 45, crooning jam ‘Love!…(Is The Answer)’ makes a return on the album; its velvet vocals swing playfully to the drums, while teases of guitar and keyboard dip alongside harmonizing refrains. ‘Now & Forever’ continues in this vein, embracing “true relief at the end of a romantic relationship, with a feeling of closure.” Channeling woozy sentimentality and remembering the past with rose-tinted glasses, ‘Here With Me’ longs for a happier time, awash with sepia-hued guitars intertwining with Aladean’s heartfelt pleas. 

Sounding akin to a release from the Hi Records or Muscle Shoals stable, Studies In A Dying Love will appeal to fans of Mayer Hawthorne, Leon Bridges, The Sacred Souls, Michael Kiwanuka, Ray LaMontagne, Sonny Ozuna, Timmy Thomas and Willie Mitchell.

Aladean doesn’t want listeners to think of the album as a pity party though, bringing levity by mixing melancholic lyricism with sun-dappled rhythm and blues. “This is a study in a dying love, but that still means that it is love. All love is important.”

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