Posts Tagged ‘The Incompetents’

I asked some of my favorite musician and artist friends, from Beirut and beyond, to list their 10 favorite albums of 2012…
Alternately, they could also provide me with a list of the records they listened to the most in 2012, regardless of date of release.

Serge Yared (musician, The Incompetents)

1- Scott Walker: Bish Bosch
2- Dr. John: Locked Down
3- Julia Holter: Ekstasis
4- Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
5- Beach House: Bloom
6- The Weeknd: Trilogy
7- Spiritualized: Sweet Heart Sweet Light
8- Sun Kil Moon: Among The Leaves
9- Ry Cooder: Election Special
10- Frank Ocean: Channel Orange

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I asked some of my favorite musicians from Beirut and beyond, to tell me what their favorite records of 2011 were…

Serge Yared: musician (The Incompetents)

“I start the list by cheating. The album was recorded in 1966-1967, was available as a bootleg but was released officially for the first time this year! As a long-time Beach Boys obsessive I have to put at the top of my list the …

1SMILE boxset. And by boxset I mean the hardcore one with 5 hours of outtakes and demos. The idea of listening to a work in progress might sound tedious and in most cases it is. But when you have a piece of art that complex being built sonically brick by brick before your eyes (ears, actually – your friendly editor), it takes this game to another level.

2– For the sake of coherence I will include another reissue here: the release of the legendary 1973 concert by the Rolling Stones titled A Brussels Affairs: The Rolling Stones Live In Belgium, only available here… http://www.stonesarchivestore.com/Product.aspx?cp=53655&pc=BGDDRS67 .

This album is a masterpiece of raw energy. The band is literally propelled by Mick Taylor and reaches its zenith with the proto-post rock of “Street Fighting Man”. You can listen to this version on YouTube and you will see the missing link between the Stooges and Spiritualized.

3 & 4–  Now the ‘political’ albums: British polls almost unanimously praised PJ Harvey‘s Let England Shake, I preferred its American counterpart, the excellent Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down by Ry Cooder, adapting Woody Guthrie’s protest-song tradition in the late 2000s’ economic crisis context. A highly rich melting-pot mixing pop, rock, mariachi, folk, jazz, reggae, ragtime etc. To me these two albums capture the spirit of 2011 in terms of content and themes.

5, 6 & 7– 2011 marks the comeback of three voices and sounds. Duane Eddy‘s legendary twang guitar sound rejuvenated by Richard Hawley in the excellent Road Trip. In these days of rockab’ revival his style remains unmatched. The second good surprise comes from Kate Bush‘s 50 Words For Snow. This album is totally… off, showing, if need be, another display of her artistic insularity. Kate is in her world: a world preserved from economical and political crises, a world unaffected by contemporary sounds — why should it be, since most contemporary artists try to replicate hers, a world in which collaborating with Elton John is still a good thing. Last but not least 2011 marks the Return of the Sweet Ogre. Tom WaitsBad As Me is an almost perfect album: traditional and experimental, sometimes political, sometimes sentimental and nostalgic: there is something for everyone

8, 9 & 10– I managed to absorb in extremis three contemporary albums that captured the sound of 2011 to me. M83Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, Bon Iver‘s and James Blake‘s self-titled albums.

I will definitely listen a lot to M83’s epic double album in 2012. It is in line with the tradition of classic double albums in which each song explores a genre. One can think of course of the BeatlesWhite Album, The Clash‘s London Calling, Stevie Wonder‘s Songs In The Key Of Life, Prince‘s Sign O’ The Times, Bruce Springsteen‘s The River, Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, etc.
I picked an album I admit I won’t listen to very often: it is Bon Iver’s. He forced my respect by (already…) reinventing himself, breaking this loner folky image he built with his first album.
Last but not least, I chose James Blake because he managed to mix perfectly the warmth of white soul with dubstep. He reminded me of Bowie‘s similar effort three decades or so ago to mix white soul with motorik sounds in Station to Station (1976).

11– Forget about Lady Gaga! My favorite pop album is Beyonce‘s 4.

12– Impossible not to cite it. ‘It’ is of course Loutallica‘s Lulu that kept me busy on Facebook for almost two months. A glorious first-degree nadir that could have been totally forgotten had Lou Reed restrained from arrogantly proclaiming it ‘best album ever made’. Reed got used of seeing his albums vilified by the critics before being later re-appraised: it happened with White Light, White Heat, it happened with Berlin, it happened with Metal Machine Music, it happened again with Street Hassle. But no! Lou, it won’t happen with The Raven and it won’t happen with Lulu either, despite its elegiac ending (“Junior Dad”).”

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I asked some of my favorite musicians from Beirut and beyond, to tell me what their favorite records of 2011 were…

Fadi Tabbal: producer, sound engineer, musician (The Incompetents, Under The Carpet, XEFM, Robert Polson)

– Tim Hecker: Ravedeath, 1972
– Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues
– Bon Iver: Self-titled
– Destroyer: Kaputt
– James Blake: Self-titled
– M83: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
– Tom Waits: Bad As Me
– The Weeknd: House Of Balloons
– Wilco: The Whole Love
– WU LYF: Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
and of course,
– The Beach Boys: The Smile Sessions (boxset)

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With a new album (almost) in hand, two concerts scheduled for late October and early November 2011, and another full-blown album in the works, it was high time that The Incompetents took over the studios of Radio Lebanon again, with their ranting, raving, on-air arguments, and of course, some pretty competent music playing… Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Serge Yared and Fadi Tabbal!

Listen: Incompetents (part 1) + Incompetents (part 2)

Playlist: Disposable Valentine – Cannibal Blues – This Gun’s for Hire – Prelude To An Abyss – Bloody Rainbow (Daniel Johnston cover) – When God’s Away On Business (Tom Waits cover) – Cannibal Blues [again, because the first one did not work so well] – After Hours (Velvet Underground cover) – High Horse (feat. Wissam Charaf)

Look [by Tanya Traboulsi]:

Look again [by Ghalas Charara]:

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A series of concerts organized by Ruptured in order to bid a farewell-of-sorts to notorious Beiruti venue The Basement. This event took place over a period of two weeks, and included concerts and album launches.

Scrambled Eggs (Charbel Haber, Tony Elieh, Malek Rizkallah) – 23 December 2010

The Incompetents  (Serge Yared, Fadi Tabbal, Abed Kobeissy, Marc Codsi) – 3 January 2011

Jad Atoui – 5 January 2011

Munma (Jawad Nawfal) – 5 January 2011

[All photos were taken by Tanya Traboulsi]

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RUPTURED is proud to present FOND FAREWELLS,

Three final nights of concerts at The Basement,
To celebrate the famed venue’s departure in style

< Monday 3 January, 9pm >

— CD launch party —

< Tuesday 4 January, 9pm >

Featuring Djs AYLA & GEORGES

< Wednesday 5 January, 9pm >

Opening by Jad ATOUI
Featuring Dj CAROLINE

[Design by Youmna Habbouche]

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The Ruptured Sessions / volume 1
(By Karma Tohmé)

Ziad Nawfal’s eclectic music tastes and his deep knowledge of a wide array of musical genres have made him one of the best DJ’s in town for over 2 decades now, and his name has been tied to the most mythical underground places of post-war Beirut. His radio programs on Beirut’s governmental radio station, Radio Liban, are also a reference for a whole generation of young alternative music lovers. These shows, as well as numerous other professional activities related to music — from working in Beirut’s sole alternative record store, La CD-Theque, to writing reviews for all new releases of Beirut Incognito’s collection, as well as for local and foreign magazines, have led to his extensive involvement with the local music scene. He often acts as a manager, producer, or event organizer for alternative rock, experimental and electronic music artists and bands from the Lebanese scene.

Following in the footsteps of one of his mentors, the BBC’s famed radio host John Peel, Ziad Nawfal presents ‘The Ruptured Sessions, volume 1’: the first CD to be recorded live in the studios of Radio Lebanon, during his ‘Ruptures’ show. The sessions were recorded in the studios of Radio Lebanon over a period of eight months, between June 2008 and February 2009. There was initially no actual intent for the sessions to be released onto CD format, which explains the lo-fi quality of some of the final tracks. Artists came to the studio to present some of their favorite musical selections, with an emphasis on their own artistic output, and were eventually invited to grab their guitar and perform a number of songs, live on the spot.

The best tracks from these impromptu sessions were then carefully selected, mixed and mastered by Tunefork Studio’s (one of Beirut’s most prestigious recording studios, for alternative-minded musicians) master-of-ceremony Fadi Tabbal, in collaboration with Ziad Nawfal. The resulting CD features exclusive music by Nadine Khouri, Charbel Haber (the lead singer from punk-rock band Scrambled Eggs, caught in rare acoustic flight), Youmna Saba, Cristobal (aka Christophe Katrib), and The Incompetents.



Audio 1: Youmna Saba: Tehfi (feat. Fadi Tabbal)

Audio 2: Charbel Haber: It Seems You Had It All Figured Out



x To read Dan Warburton’s review for The Wire, click here

x To read the Gossip Magazine – Lebanon review (Jul-Aug. 2009), click on the following link: Gossip music page

x Read Matthew Mosley’s review for Daily Star – Lebanon (May 2009):


[Design by Youmna Habbouche]

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The INCOMPETENTS (Abed Kobeissy & Serge Yared) – B018, Qarantina, December 2008

SCRAMBLED EGGS (Tony Elieh, Charbel Haber & Malek Rizkallah) – B018, Qarantina, December 2010

[Photos by Salim Hbeiliny]

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