THE INCOMPETENTS // 1st Ruptured Session // 26 Jan 2009

Le Lundi 26 Janvier, le groupe de rock psychédélique libanais The Incompetents, un favori de ces émissions, se produisait en concert dans les studios de Radio Liban, 96.2FM.

incompetents-live-ruptures-1 + incompetents-live-ruptures-2

Track listing:
Disposable Valentine
Monster Song #2
Urinal Blues
Bloody Rainbow (Daniel Johnston cover)









Ruptured Live // XEFM “Man With A Movie Camera” // The Basement

On February 6, 2009, Lebanese experimental rock band XEFM will take to the stage at The Basement, in Beirut, and create a new soundtrack to famed Russian art-house film Man with a Movie Camera. XEFM are no strangers to the Cinemix tradition, as they have already contributed a short piece of music to a Lebanese silent film shown recently at the ‘Né à Beirut’ festival. On this occasion, however, they will tackle an altogether grander task; that of providing a live musical accompaniment to a full-length, celebrated feature.

Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera was created in 1929. This controversial film is an extraordinary piece of film-making, a montage of urban Russian life, showing the people of the city at work and at play, and the machines that keep the city (Odessa and others) going. Shooting shops, traffic, children, coal miners, workers, human bodies, and nature, Vertov creates visual rhymes and graphic portraits of the structure of life and the explosion of perception. It was Vertov’s first full-length film, and he used all the cinematic techniques at his disposal – dissolves, double exposure, fast and slow motion,  freeze-frames, jump cuts, split screens, extreme close-ups, tracking shots, footage played backwards, and animations – to produce a work that is exhilarating and intellectually brilliant, a sublimely fluid vision of man, machine, and society.

The XEFM quartet of Charbel Haber (electric guitar), Tony Elieh (bass), Fadi Tabbal (electric guitar), and Abdallah Ko (guitar and electronics), created on their 1st release from 2008, a superb tapestry of sounds, hovering between ambient electronica and outlandish noise. It should be fascinating to hear them transpose their sound, one that is suffused with Beirut’s urban maze, into 1930’s Russian art-house cinema.


(2008 end-of-year lists) – ZEID HAMDAN

I asked the main actors of this here blog (mostly musicians, of course, but also friends, family, support-givers…) to provide me with a list (5 to 20 albums) of their favorite records of the year.

The results are slowly coming in. There are surprises, resemblances, similarities, incongruous choices… I’ve left the responses intact, exactly as I received them, along with my friends’ comments. So here goes:

Zeid Hamdan: musician (Soapkills, New Government, Control Z, 3Arab), producer, promoter

“for sure !!!!
they were not released in 2008 but that’s what i’ve been mostly listening to this year not in order of preference:”

CD 1 Bassekou Kouyate  segu blue
CD 2 Radio head in rainbows
CD 3 Lumi two tears in water
CD 4 Portishead (the latest)
CD 5 Cedric Im Brooks And The Light Of Saba
CD 6 jon kennedy ( mostly to his myspace , he has no cd s here..)

ZEID HAMDAN // Interview // 12 Jan 2009

Le Lundi 12 Janvier, sur 96.2FM, le musicien et producteur ZEID HAMDAN était l’invité de l’émission RUPTURES ‘Zoom Sur’. Il donne aux auditeurs de Radio Liban un aperçu de ses productions récentes…

zeid-ruptures-12-jan-09-part-1 + zeid-ruptures-12-jan-09-part-2

Track listing:
Hiba *2
Shift Z
Kandhia Kouyate *2
Kandhia Kouyate
Shift Z

Review // Scrambled Eggs // Dedicated to Foes Celebrating Friends

[January 2009]

SCRAMBLED EGGS: Dedicated To Foes Celebrating Friends (Incognito, 2009)

Hot on the heels of the haunted soundtrack they’ve created for the Joreige/Hadjithomas film ‘Je Veux Voir’, Lebanese punk icons Scrambled Eggs end their busy year with this “modest” 2-song release, which does however hold a host of surprises.

The year 2008 saw the Eggs part ways with their guitarist, Marc Codsi, an active contributor to the band’s sound since 2001. Codsi’s tumultuous departure, in addition to the wealth of experience gathered from working with various musicians throughout the year, infiltrate the tracks featured here, and lend them a primal, DIY quality. The sophistication of the ‘Je Veux Voir’ soundtrack is eschewed in favor of a raw, abrasive sound, harking back to the punk aesthetic of the ‘Happy Together Filthy Forever’ EP, released in 2006.

The single was recorded with little budget, in lo-fi conditions that seep through the music and lyrics. The band, reduced to the core trio of Haber on guitar and vocals, Elieh on bass, and Rizkallah on drums, displays a frantic desire to land back on its feet after a period of artistic self-doubt, and succeeds in doing so admirably. Of the six or seven songs that the Eggs wrote and tested on the road in September 2008, 2 were selected for this single release, and a third, a furious cover of Abba’s ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’, is hidden at the far end of the CD. Also hidden away at the far reaches of this release are a selection of musical snippets and oddities, selected by band-leader Charbel Haber with able help from Tunefork Studio’s maestro Fadi Tabbal.

This basic, back-to-the-roots package is a masterful way to end a difficult year, and an able return to form from one of the most revered band on Beirut’s alternative music scene.

Ziad Nawfal

Review // Munma // Unholy Republic

[April 2009]

MUNMA: UNHOLY REPUBLIC (Incognito, 2009)

The third official release by Lebanese electronic artist Jawad Nawfal sees him revisiting familiar themes and musical landscapes, while displaying the possibility for some radical departures in the near future. ‘Unholy Republic’ is the third installment of what is commonly referred to as the “Fate trilogy”, one that saw the day in the aftermath of the war waged by Israel on Lebanon in summer 2006. The first two releases, ‘34 Days’ and ‘Black Tuesday’, were marked by ominous moods and atmospheres, sets of menacing clicks and glitches, and a random selection of radio samples and speeches that conveyed brilliantly the mind-set and feelings of the artist, regarding the crisis at hand.

‘Unholy Republic’ picks up where ‘Black Tuesday’ left, with a rambling, brooding track haunted by static, radio noise, and some politician’s vehement preaching. This is followed by two tracks of subdued electronica, reminiscent of Munma’s previous releases. ‘Engram’, in particular, nods prominently towards South American musician Murcof’s output for the Leaf label. The rest of the album is more surprising, as Munma’s recent partner-in-crime, Nabil Saliba aka Trash Inc, enters the fray, and contributes his supple synth-enhanced melodies to ‘Broken Chime’ and ‘Deep Down Inside’. These show a different facet of Munma’s talent, and serve as a timely reminder that Jawad Nawfal is equally at ease devising ambient landscapes and dancefloor “stompers”. ‘Unholy Republic’ concludes on a short, ambient postcard entitled ‘Exodus’, signalling in the process the end of the “Fate trilogy”, and prefiguring realms of possibilities for Munma’s subsequent works.


Audio 1: Engram

Audio 2: Deep Down

CHARIF MEGARBANÉ // Interview // 28 Dec 2008

Le musicien Libano-Canadien CHARIF MEGARBANÉ, leader du groupe HEROES & VILLAINS, était l’invité de l’émission DÉCALAGES, le Dimanche 28 Decembre sur 96.2FM. Il a présenté son premier album solo, “Concrete Abstracts Vol.1”, dont la sortie est prévue début 2009, un morceau inédit des HEROES & VILLAINS, une salve de jazz orchestral, de la pop 70’s, soul 60’s et un peu de hip-hop underground contemporain, tiens.

charif-megarbane-decalages-30-dec-part-1 + charif-megarbane-decalages-30-dec-part-2

Track listing:
Charif Megarbané
Heroes & Villains
Charif Megarbané *2
Fifth Dimension
Heroes & Villains
Charif Megarbané *3
Candi Statton
Heroes & Villains
The Fortune Tellers
Charif Megarbané *3
Heroes & Villains

CHRISTOPHE KATRIB aka CRISTOBAL // Ruptured Session // 22 Dec 2008

On Monday, December 22, Lebanese singer/songwriter CHRISTOPHE KATRIB aka CRISTOBAL performed some of his own compositions live in the studios of Radio Lebanon. This was an exclusive session for Radio Lebanon’s RUPTURES show, and the occasion to discover a truly outstanding young talent, who performs all too rarely.

cristobal-22-dec-08-part-1 + cristobal-22-dec-08-part-2

[Photo by Tanya Traboulsi]













YOUMNA SABA // Interview // 14 Dec 2008

Le Dimanche 14 Décembre, la chanteuse libanaise YOUMNA SABA était l’invitée de ‘Décalages’, sur les ondes de Radio Liban. Elle a présenté son premier album, ‘MIN AAFESH EL BEIT’, et annoncé le concert de lancement qui accompagnait la sortie du disque, le Mardi 16 Décembre, a la Crypte de l’Eglise St-Joseph.

youmna-saba-14-dec-08-part-1 + youmna-saba-14-dec-08-part-2

Track listing:
Ani Di Franco
Youmna Saba
Bon Iver
Emilie Simon
Youmna Saba
Sidsel Endresen
Youmna Saba
Fleet Foxes
Bjork (feat. Antony)
Youmna Saba

(2008 end-of-year lists) – CHRISTOPHE KATRIB

I asked the main actors of this here blog (mostly musicians, of course, but also friends, family, support-givers…) to provide me with a list (5 to 20 albums) of their favorite records of the year.

The results are slowly coming in. There are surprises, resemblances, similarities, incongruous choices… I’ve left the responses intact, exactly as I received them, along with my friends’ comments. So here goes:

Christophe Katrib: DJ, musician (Cristobal), photographer

“Although I haven’t purchased all the music I would have wanted to this year, I will write a list based on what I’ve been able to listen to, in and out, up and down, a couple might be from 2007 though… here it goes:”

Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever ago
– Ratatat: LP3

Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes
– Passion Pit: Chunk of Change (EP)
Elbow: The seldom seen kid
– Yeasayer: All hour cymbals
Band of Horses: Cease to begin
The Helio Sequence: Keep your eyes ahead
TV on the Radio: dear science
Okkervil River: The Stand Ins
Destroyer: Trouble in Dreams