we have been absent for a while, launching the first issue of the MUSIC fanzine, in Beirut.
The party took place at Torino Express, a small bar located in one of the last traditional neighborhoods of the city. Faces were marked with the bar's signature red neon light and Charbel Haber, the guest of the first issue played records that included Cabaret Voltaire, Nirvana and My Bloody Valentine.
Currently working on issue 2 with Ziad Nawfal, radio host, DJ, concert organizer, music producer, and one of the main faces of Beirut's music scene today. We already have many ideas, but as usual they will evolve and shape up as we unveil Nawfal's relationship with music.
Heat is a sensation induced by many things, such as dancing under a rain of bombs. Legend says that Lebanese people did so during the devastating civil war that disfigured their country.
The soundtrack to these macabre discos remain uncertain, but music astronauts found a 12" on the milky way, floating somewhere near Donna Summer (you all know the woman found inspiration masturbating in outer space).
Elias Rahbani and his Orchestra released a disco record catchier than any Claude François hit single or any Moroder production.
Heat is a sensation induced by watching the sleeve of that record, the perfect physique of that woman who seems to be coming straight out of any 70's erotic flick, her name was probably Liza, and as the song suggests, she may have been prone to Sapphic love.
One could believe that a middle eastern country were not exposed to western music at the time, error. Iran was very avant garde in the late 60's all through the 70's, and so was Lebanon.
Here are two tracks MUSIC selected from this rare master piece of middle-eastern music, space psych and flamboyant disco:
We Come From the Moon - Elias Rahbani and his Orchestra
Liza...Liza - Elias Rahbani and his Orchestra
They come second best in choosing the perfect band name in the nineties, the perfect being Hole, at least in the city of Olympia.
Beat Happening delivered five perfect albums from the mid-eighties to 1992, five raw, yet childish pieces of art in the sonic world of lo-fi.
The band has a very distinctive sound, due to the thrift-store guitar and maracas, the heavy repetitive drum action, as well as the deep, droning baryton voice of Calvin Johnson, Sub Pop fanzine then record label creator.
Their last album, You Turn Me On (1992, K/Sub Pop records) is probably their most felicitous, mixing their debut's raw energy as the hit in the head song Teenage Caveman with far more elaborate material such as the 9 minute-long Godsend or the aerial Sleepyhead (a personal favorite) both sung by Heather Lewis, featuring multitrack recording, which is at odds with their usual style, though it is pure bliss.
Teenage Caveman - Beat Happening
Godsend - Beat Happening
Sleepyhead - Beat Happening
in Beirut, a band was born a few years ago: The Incompetents, their debut was highly influenced by Beat Happening, mostly due to Serge Yared's voice, resembling Calvin Johnson's. You can listen to them them here