Fadi Tabbal is a Lebanese sound experimentalist working in the obscured city limits of ambient, shoegaze and drone -- the beauty of his solo record, 'On The Rooftop Looking Up', is found in wading through the haze of guitar effects and acoustic wastelands. Tabbal's role in pulverising psych rock band XEFM is all but forgotten on this record of reflective, melancholic wonder.
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- On The Rooftop Looking Up by Fadi Tabbal
7/10 Andy Staff review, 19 November 2014
Give it up for “the hardest-working man in Lebanon’s alternative music scene.” Ok, that possibly doesn't quite have the fire that James Brown's hype man provided with his similar introduction, however Fedi isn't here to get you up to get down. His sound here is more about staring at your feet rather than moving them. Yes that's right - its shoegaze time.
The history bit; Tabbal relocated to Beirut in 2006, following studies in sound engineering in Montreal, Canada; he promptly established Tunefork Recording Studios, offering customised services ranging from full band recordings, live sound, production and music composition. Working in film soundtracks as well as in a number of bands ranging in styles from psychedelic rock, to folk and onto drone you'll start to appreciate the hardworking tag he has been given by the Lebanese cognoscenti.
This is his solo debut, working in a modern classical, but abstract style with stripped acoustics and references to shoegaze guitar work blanketed in atmospherics. The 20 tracks range from tiny sketches of sound to more defined pieces. This seems more of a mood work rather than a series of stand alone tracks. There are moments that stand out, opener 'Brother From Another Planet' sets the tone nicely. 'Castles In The Air' and 'District 11' are worthy of mention too. Though this isn't an album for the spotify generation. You need to be willing to dive in and find your own favourites.
It's not necessarily an easy listen, not because its abrasive, rather because it benefits from your attention to pick out intricacies. Whilst not directly comparable to Boards Of Canada, I did get a similar feel, particularly with their more folk-tronica experiments. Those that enjoy the Ghost Box label should check this out too.
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