SCRAMBLED EGGS // Ruptured Session + RADWAN GHAZI MOUMNEH // Interview // 21 Dec 2009

RADWAN GHAZI MOUMNEH, musicien (Jerusalem In My Heart), ingénieur du son, producteur (Clues, Land of Kush), fondateur du studio montréalais Hotel2Tango en 2005 (le studio qui a accueilli entre autres les Godspeed You! Black Emperor, A Silver Mt Zion, le regretté Vic Chesnutt, etc.)… Radwan est accompagné de Pierre-Guy Blanchard, l’un de ses compères au sein du groupe Jerusalem In My Heart.

Et en concert (électrique!) durant cette même émission, le groupe de punk-rock libanais SCRAMBLED EGGS (Charbel Haber – guitare; Tony Elieh – basse; Malek Rizkallah – batterie), pour la promotion de leur concert au Basement le 27 Décembre. Belle façon de clôturer cette année 2009!

Ecouter: Radwan SE part 1 + Radwan SE part 2


Track listing:
Feu Thérese
Pacha
De La Caucase
Clues


[Photos de Tanya Traboulsi]

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


CHARBEL HABER // Ruptured Session // 17 Nov 2008

CHARBEL HABER, du groupe de Rock Libanais SCRAMBLED EGGS, était l’invité de RUPTURES ‘ZOOM SUR’, le Lundi 17 Novembre, a 20h sur les ondes de RADIO LIBAN…

Accompagné uniquement de sa guitare (électrique), il tente le périlleux exercice du live… L’occasion de découvrir un talent gigantesque, qui prend toute son ampleur dans ces conditions de studio “minimales”.

Ecouter:
charbel-haber-17-nov-08-part-1 + charbel-haber-17-nov-08-part-2


Track listing:
Scrambled Eggs
Smashing Pumpkins
Nirvana
Sonic Youth
Charbel Haber LIVE
Stone Roses
Faith No More
Charbel Haber LIVE
Portishead
Charbel Haber LIVE *2
Pulp


[Photo de Tony Elieh]

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(2008 end-of-year lists) – SCRAMBLED EGGS

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:

Charbel Haber, Tony Elieh, Malek Rizkallah: musicians (Scrambled Eggs)

“Ten 2008 releases that can help keep Beirut weird”

CSS: Donkey
MGMT: Oracular Spectacular
Liars: Liars
Deerhunter: Microcastle
Radiohead: In Rainbows
Raveonettes: lust lust lust
Sonic Youth: Master-Dik
The Incompetents: More Songs From The Victorious City
Silver Mt. Zion: 13 blues for thirteen moons
Christine Sehnaoui/Michel Waisviz: Shortwave

SCRAMBLED EGGS // Interview // 22 Sept 2008

Scrambled Eggs interview on Ruptures, Radio Liban 96.2FM (22 Sept. 08)
 
L’émission Ruptures du 22 Septembre accueillait les trois membres du groupe de rock libanais SCRAMBLED EGGS, Charbel Haber, Tony Elieh, et Malek Rizkallah, pour une écoute de leurs nouvelles compositions et une discussion (assez déjantée) de leur parcours musical et de leurs projets futurs.

Ecouter:
ruptures-scrambled-eggs-1 + ruptures-scrambled-eggs-2


Track listing:
The Beatles
Buzzcocks
Scrambled Eggs (Abba cover)
Nirvana
Smashing Pumpkins
Scrambled Eggs *2
Kings of Leon
Scrambled Eggs
Stone Roses
A Place to Bury Strangers
Scrambled Eggs



[Scrambled Eggs performing live at Zico House, Beirut]

Review // Beirut’s Alternative Musical Scene // Version 2

[“A glance at Beirut’s contemporary alternative musical scene” was written for & published by ELLE ORIENT MAGAZINE in 2008]

To this day, I am not entirely sure what the initial spark was. I keep going through different scenarios and different events in my head, but I’m still unsure as to what started it all. It could have been Yasmine Hamdan’s tremulous voice, when the Soapkills took their first steps on a makeshift stage in a restaurant named Babylone, on the upper confines of Monot Street.  Or the vision of Jawad Nawfal and Victor Bresse laying complex rhythms on their electronic machines in Beirut’s Dome; or, closer still in time, the edgy voice of Charbel Haber as he professed eternal love and unavoidable damnation behind the wall of noise emitted by the Scrambled Eggs band…

Whichever the case, the actual beginnings of the Lebanese alternative musical scene escape me today. But this scene is so fertile, so diversified, so gloriously messy yet ultimately enchanting, that the details of its inception are irrelevant today. Much more important are its many actors, their numerous projects, and plans for a gloriously baffling future.

Yasmine Hamdan, the by-now legendary velvety voice of Soapkills, left Lebanon and her partner Zeid Hamdan’s barrage of rhythms, and exiled herself in France to work with famed electronic Mirwais (a mainstay of the French New Wave scene of the 80’s with his band Taxi Girl). The results of his collaboration with Yasmine Hamdan should be released imminently.

Zeid Hamdan, one of the most hyperactive musicians in Beirut’s alternative scene, has fronted a myriad bands in the last few years, excelling in various genres: punk/pop with the New Government (two releases on Lebanese independent label Incognito), Control/Shift Z (a dance project with Arab inflections), 3Arab (a fine blend of rock and dub), and countless others. Zeid is also hard at work scouting for new talent, and his efforts in that field have paved the way for the release of products from local Rap acts, including Katibe 5, Kita3youn, Kitaa Beirut, etc. Among these, the Katibe 5 crew stands ahead of the competition, and its debut album (also released by Incognito) is an infectious mixture of Arab rapping and hard-edged beats.

Jawad Nawfal and his Art.Core ensemble were among the first Lebanese artists to organize large-scale events gathering deejaying, live music, interactive video projections and photography. Some of these elements are still found in Jawad’s work today, as he fronts Electronica project Munma, a band that incorporates Middle and Far Eastern influences with its resolutely Westernized Electronic Ambient schemes. Munma’s first two EP’s were released on Incognito Records.  Jawad’s musical cohort of choice is ex-drummer Nabil Saliba, who performs on stage with Munma as synth-driven Trash Inc.

Electronic dance music’s Lebanese ambassadors of choice would be Lumi, a duo consisting of Marc Codsi (machines) and Mayaline Hage (vocals), whose jumpy electro-rock has earned them a successful commercial release with multinational label EMI records. 2008 saw them hard at work touring their debut album “Two Tears in Water”.

Whether bouncing on and off stage with local rock heroes Scrambled Eggs, improvising with experimental outfit XEFM, or interpreting his plaintive compositions alone on stage, Charbel Haber is an iconic figure in the contemporary Lebanese music scene, and feels perfectly at ease operating in this wide range of musical settings. Scrambled Eggs have released a handful of albums and EP’s, of consistently superior musical quality. 2008 also saw the release of a solo album by Haber, as well as collaborations with XEFM and U.S.-based bass player Miles Jay.

Among recent newcomers, let me point out The Incompetents, 4 young men hard at work creating an unreasonable mixture of Syd Barrett and Beach Boys influences, and more modern British pop trends. During their rare live appearances, they succeed in creating an extravagantly joyous shambles, while the release of their debut album will undoubtedly figure as a highlight of the year 2009.

Although less prominently ‘alternative’, the musical endeavors of singers such as Rima Khcheich and Tania Saleh hold a special place in the Lebanese contemporary panorama, as they mine a rich vein of Oriental Jazz and pop sensibilities.

The ongoing adventures of Beirut’s alternative music scene would not be possible without the staunch support of a stubborn group of individuals, active so-to-speak behind the scenes: promoters and festival organizers (Libanjazz’s Karim Ghattas, The Basement’s Jad Souaid, Byblos Festival’s Naji Baz…), producers (Incognito’s Tony Sfeir, Forward Productions’ Ghazi Abdelbaki), radio hosts (hailing mostly from the government-supported Radio Lebanon), whose efforts and relentless risk-taking surely play a vital part in ensuring the survival of this ebullient, diversified scene.

A full report on those bands that consistently set ablaze this writer’s enthusiasm would necessitate an obscenely large number of words and pages. At best, one can barely scratch the surface of this musical compendium, which regenerates itself constantly, and holds endless surprises for the patient and avid listener.

Ziad Nawfal


[Photo of Malek Rizkallah, drummer with Scrambled Eggs, by Ziad Nawfal]

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CHARBEL HABER & TONY ELIEH // Bande à Part Session // 21 Nov 2007

Don’t Border me est né officiellement le 9 juin 2007,  à Montréal, grace aux efforts des journalistes Christelle Franca et Serge Abiaad. Le projet s’intéresse aux musiques et la création faite où les frontières géopolitiques sont trop rigides; là où la circulation des individus, des idées et d’une information honnête est aussi complexe qu’essentielle. Pour ses premiers pas, Don’t Border me a souhaité donner la parole à la musique libanaise actuelle.

Guitariste et compositeur autodidacte, Charbel Haber co-fonde le combo post-punk Scrambled Eggs à 20 ans. 9 ans plus tard, multipliant les projets et les collaborations, on le retrouve, entre autre, à la tête du label Those Kids Must Choke. Quant a Tony Elieh, s’il est aussi le bassiste et un des co-fondateurs du combo post-punk Scrambled Eggs, il est surtout photographe. Dans ce travail de création parallèle, il fusionne la réalité et la fiction, suit les sautes d’humeur de Beyrouth et met en image les tensions contradictoires qui l’habitent.

Dans le cadre du projet Bande à Part/Don’t Border me, Charbel et Tony ont soumis un soundscape (ou paysage sonore),  ainsi que quatre photographies.


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