Tunisian-born, New York-based experimental artist Emel Mathlouthi has announced a new double album, The Tunis Diaries. The 18-track LP arrives October 23 via Partisan. Ahead of the record, Mathlouthi has shared a new track titled “Holm (A Dream),” as well as a cover of David Bowie’s song “The Man Who Sold the World.” Listen to those below, and scroll down for the tracklist and album art for The Tunis Diaries.
Mathlouthi’s new album is split up into two parts: “Day” and “Night,” both of which contain nine songs. The Tunis Diaries features new versions of tracks in Emel’s catalog, and the second part has covers of Nirvana, Black Sabbath, and more. Mathlouthi created the new album solely with a laptop, a tape recorder, and a classical guitar she crowdsourced from a local fan via Facebook. She recorded the LP in her native Tunis while quarantined in her childhood home.
“When COVID-19 arrived, I was visiting my family in Tunis and ended up being confined inside my childhood home, where my daughter and I had gone to celebrate my father’s 85th birthday,” Mathlouthi said in a press release. She continued:
I was separated from my husband, my band, my collaborators, and all my equipment. But I was immersed in a feeling of nostalgia and memory, surrounded by the blossoming wildflowers, tweeting birds, and blue skies of my hometown. Also, thankfully I was sheltered in with two of my favorite people in the world. Together we were three generations under the same roof - free from school, work, and from outside world distractions. These feelings drove me to want to create, and to revisit the old spirits that haunted my early years as an artist.
For me, this is an intimate project that captures how I passed a big portion of my confinement. It ended up being much deeper than I would have ever imagined, and a unique journey with my father and my daughter that taught me a lot about myself, family, and giving. It is also a tribute to my home city Tunis, that gave me so much. This is an effort to give my city and fans the sense of togetherness that they shared with me during those confusing and scary times.
Mathlouthi’s last album was 2019’s Everywhere We Looked Was Burning.
Revisit Pitchfork’s 2016 Rising feature “Why the World Needs Emel Mathlouthi’s Anthems Against the Dictatorship Machine.”
The Tunis Diaries:
02 Ma Llkit
03 Fi Kolli Yawmen
05 Princess Melancholy
08 Everywhere We Looked Was Burning
01 Something in the Way (Nirvana cover)
02 The Man Who Sold the World (David Bowie cover)
03 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Black Sabbath cover)
04 Every You Every Me (Placebo cover)
05 One of Us Cannot Be Wrong (Leonard Cohen cover)
06 Frühling in Paris (Rammstein cover)
07 Aerials (System of a Down cover)
08 New Year’s Prayer (Jeff Buckley cover)
09 War Child (The Cranberries cover)
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork