Sun City Girls guitarist Alan Bishop, also improvising on voice, meets Beirut's "A" Trio of Mazen Kerbaj on trumpet, Sharif Sehnaoui on guitar, and Raed Yassin on bass for four quite unusual improvisations, and a cover of "Gently Johnny", best known from the UK movie "Wicker Man".
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Catalog ID: UNROCK 006LP
Squidco Product Code: 21895
Packaging: LP - Gatefold
Recorded at Tunefork Studios in Beirut, Lebanon, in April and November 2012 by Fadi Tabbal.
Alan Bishop-guitar, vocals
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1. Howling Sheep 6:45
2. Burj Al Imam 13:25
1. Smoking Elevator 5:12
2. Folk Machinery 8:13
3. Gently Johnny 5:15
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"Entirely recorded at Tunefork Studios on the outskirts of Beirut, Burj al Imam's five tracks include three largely improvised numbers, a loose reworking of Sun City Girls track "The Imam," and a cover of traditional Americana song "Gently Johnny" (a highlight of Alan Bishop's live Alvarius B. shows).
True to their habits, the Lebanese trio of trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj, guitarist Sharif Sehnaoui, and bassist Raed Yassin create acoustic improvised drones that range from insistent, chiming resonances with emergency alarm bells to low, thrumming hums. Avoiding conventional technique, "A" Trio generates rattling, metallic vibrations and a mechanistic backdrop out of which the instruments' true voices arise.
With Alan Bishop (Sun City Girls, The Invisible Hands, The Dwarfs of East Agouza) and his guitar and enigmatic voice in the mix, alternating between gentle crooning and the sounds of a howling dervish, this recording reaches an exceptional depth with strange sounds boiling down to a dark, heavy spiritual syrup. Psychedelic, industrial free jazz."-Unrock
• Show Bio for Alan Bishop
"Alan Bishop is an American musician, most famous for being the bassist and vocalist of experimental rock band Sun City Girls. He has also released solo material under the aliases Alvarius B. and Uncle Jim. In the early 1980s Bishop played in the short-lived band Paris 1942 with Maureen Tucker of the Velvet Underground. Bishop is now a member of the Cairo-based band,The Invisible Hands. He is the co-founder, along with Hisham Mayet, of Sublime Frequencies, a Seattle-based record label focused on collating esoteric music and imagery from all over the world, most notably Southeast Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Bishop)
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• Show Bio for Mazen Kerbaj
"His main activities are comics, painting and music. After a lot of works for different publishers and magazines, it is in March 2000 that he releases some of his more personal works in his Journal 1999 (a dairy in comics' format). He self-published eight other books and many short stories since.
It is also in 2000 that he plays for the first time in concert, in the Strike's pub in Beirut. This concert, a duo with Lebanese sax player Christine Sehnaoui, is probably the first improvised music concert in the Middle East.
In 2001, together with guitarist Sharif Sehnaoui , he creates the MILL association that curates since IRTIJAL an annual international festival for free music in Beirut as well as various concerts and events (IRTIJAL saw over the years some great improvisers like Fred Van Hove, Johannes Bauer, Lê Quan Ninh, Franz Hautzinger...).
In august 2002, together with Sharif Sehnaoui and double bass player Raed Yassine he recorded the album A published by La CD-Thèque, Beirut.
After meeting Franz Hautzinger by chance in Lebanon in February 2003, they played in duo in Beirut and in Paris and in trio with Japanese laptop player Taku Unami at the IRTIJAL 2003 festival. Then they were joined by Sharif Sehnaoui and Helge Hinteregger to form Oriental Space quartet that played in Nickelsdorf, Berlin, Vienna and Klagenfurt. A recording of this group is avilable on the Austrian label aRtonal, and a recording of the duo Hautzinger/Kerbaj is to be released soon on the Portugese label Creative Sources.
Between 2000 and 2004, Mazen Kerbaj played in solo and various groups in a lot of venues in Lebanon, Damascus, Paris, Bordeaux, Vienna, Berlin, New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia...
Regular and occasional partners includes: Sharif Sehnaoui, Christine Sehnaoui, Raed Yassine, Charbel Haber, Jad Balaben, Jassem Hindi, Franz Hautzinger, Helge Hinteregger, Lê Quan Ninh, Bertrand Denzler, Stéphane Rives, Edward Perraud, Taku Unami, Guillermo Gregorio, Gene Coleman, Toshimaru Nakamura, Michael Zerang, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jim Baker, Jack
Wright, Mike Bullok, Vic Rawlings, Nate Wooley...Kerbaj is going to release soon a solo CD and a quartet with Sharif and Christine Sehnaoui and Ingar Zach, on the newly born Lebanese label Al-Maslakh (the slaughterhouse)."-Creative Sources (http://creativesourcesrec.com/creative_artists.html)
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• Show Bio for Sharif Sehnaoui
"Sharif Sehnaoui is a free improvising guitarist. He plays both electric & acoustic guitars, with (or without) extended and prepared techniques, focusing on expanding the intrinsic possibilities of these instruments without the use of effects or electronics. He now resides in Beirut, his hometown, after more than a decade in Paris, where he started his career as an improviser in 1998, playing at Instants Chavirés as a member of several orchestras. He has since performed his music worldwide and played in many clubs & festivals such as Soundfield (Chicago), Moers, Konfrontationen (Nickelsdorf), Météo Music Festival (Mulhouse), CTM & Maerzmusik (Berlin), FEST (Tunis), Skanu Mesz (Riga), 100Live (Cairo) or Musikprotokoll (Graz).
In Lebanon, he actively contributed to the emergence of an unprecedented experimental music scene. Along with Mazen Kerbaj he created "Irtijal" (www.irtijal.org) in 2000, a yearly international festival that is the oldest improvised and new music festival in the Arab world. "Irtijal" celebrated its XVth anniversary in 2015.
He also runs two record labels: "Al Maslakh" (www.almaslakh.org) devoted to "publish the un-publishable" on the Lebanese musical scene. And "Annihaya" (www.annihaya.com), focusing on sampling, recycling and the displacement of various aspects of popular culture.
His main groups and projects include the "A" Trio (with Kerbaj & Raed Yassin), "Wormholes" an audio-visual performance with Kerbaj drawing live on a glass table, and Karkhana (www.karkhana-music.com), a Middle-Eastern based super-group combining musicians from Beirut, Cairo & Istanbul. He performs solo on the acoustic guitar using unique percussive techniques exclusively, and on the electric guitar mostly performing with dance (Atsushi Takenouchi, Omar Rajeh...) and composing music for film (Ghassan Salhab, Mai Masri...)
Over the years he has collaborated with several musicians including Michael Zerang, Paed Conca, Thierry Madiot, Fabrizio Spera, Franz Hautzinger, Xavier Charles, Tarek Atoui, Tony Buck, Maurice Louca, Susie Ibarra, Eddie Prevost, Jean-François Pauvros, Alan Bishop, Umut Çağlar, Michael Vorfeld or Saadet Turkoz to name but a few."-Sharif Sehnaoui Website (http://www.sharifsehnaoui.net/bio.htm)
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