House music has long been regarded as a spiritual pursuit, but in recent years, it’s taken a definitive turn towards the mystical. At the helm of this emerging junction, you’ll find Bedouin: the Brooklyn-based duo of Tamer Malki & Rami Abousabe.
The burgeoning pair have come to embody the deeper, desert-inspired shades of house music. Think tribal drums and Eastern melodies, often packaged together into hypnotic, eight-minute arrangements. It’s a sound that has recently exploded on a global scale, mainly due to the rising notoriety of transformative festivals such as Burning Man. While there are plenty of dance artists pursuing this style, few do it as well as Bedouin.
Tamer and Rami officially joined forces in 2012 and chose the name “Bedouin” as a reference to the nomadic, desert-dwelling tribes of the Middle East. It’s both an homage to their heritage — Tamer is from Jordan, Rami from Egypt — as well as a parallel to the travel-heavy nature of their careers.
Their first major break came in 2013, when they were asked to perform a sunrise set on Burning Man’s legendary Robot Heart art car stage. The set later served as their first public release — a fitting one in hindsight, as they’ve since become synonymous with the hazy, sunrise sounds of Burning Man’s Black Rock City. Their original music soon followed, finding its primary home on two of the underground’s most cherished deep house imprints: Crosstown Rebels and All Day I Dream.
“Both labels have been around for a long time and they’re being run by artists who have been in the industry for so long,” Tamer tells Billboard. “When you’re thinking about a home for your music, it’s the vehicle that presents what you’ve worked so hard on. You want someone that you know and trust.”
You’d be hard pressed to find better hands to have your music in than those of Damian Lazarus, Crosstown Rebels founder, and Lee Burridge, founder of All Day I Dream. And those creative partnerships have definitely served Bedouin well. Tracks like 2017’s “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun,” a moody Pink Floyd cover released on Crosstown, which has helped elevate the status of the duo from rising desert DJs to globally sought-after producers.
The biggest development for the pair in recent years has been the launch of their very own Ibiza residency: Saga at Heart Ibiza. Now in its second year, Saga is a weekly Sunday party on the White Isle in which Bedouin curate a handful of select guests; everyone from Guy Gerber and Jamie Jones to upcoming names like LUM and SIS.
Saga is quite unlike any normal club night on the island. As Tamer explains, “it’s more of an interactive, surreal experience from the moment you walk in.” He goes on to describe a psychedelic soiree full of “candles, fire, chandeliers and trippy visuals.” Beyond this, the party features a number of costumed performers walking through the crowd. In the middle of the dancefloor, for instance, you may encounter an actor with a fencing mask, wielding a leaf blower and spraying patrons with cold air. “I think that really provides an exciting twist to someone being in the audience or on the dancefloor,” Rami adds.
Of course, the heart of the party is the music itself. The pair spend the majority of their time preparing for the residency by deliberating over the lineup curation. “It’s like a puzzle,” Tamer says. “We have all the artists that we’d like to invite, and then we have their dates, and then we have to make sure that we’re programming the right artists in the right time on the right night.”
The results thus far speak for themselves. “It’s just grown so much and so fast with one year,” Rami says. “It was beyond our expectations. The second year we saw a lot more energy, people knew about it more and trusted the lineups that we had.”
In celebration of a successful sophomore season, Bedouin have opted to share their first-ever Saga live recording. The two-hour mix, which Billboard Dance is exclusively premiering below, is taken from the duo’s final set at the closing party of their residency.
“This set will continue our annual tradition of giving a set away for the holidays,” Bedouin write in the mix description. “These sets get a bit more crazy than you may be used to, if you have never seen us play, so hold on to your seat!”