Two or the Dragon is the electro-acoustic duo of Lebanese musicians Abed Kobeissy and Ali Hout. The project was initiated in 2014, when the two players were asked to compose scores for contemporary dance and theater performances. The duo’s unapologetic approach to traditional Arabic music hints at deconstruction, dance grooves, industry, satire and a deniable melancholy, in a manner reminiscent of early recordings by Einsturzende Neubauten, Laibach or Throbbbing Gristle.
Hout and Kobeissy approach Beirut’s industrial vistas both as a local aesthetic and a main element of their work: the unique sound of processed buzuq (Levantine long-necked lute) and percussion, combined with the two musicians’ rich background in traditional Arabic music, takes the sonic, visual and pseudo-political day-to-day that is Beirut and reflects it onto a hyper-realistic soundscape.
Rather than a contemporary rendering of traditional Arabic music, Two or The Dragon's music is saturated with their city's aural components. The restless din of Beirut plays a major role in shaping the duo's aesthetic; from the drilling of ever-expanding construction sites, the cacophony of car horns in unpredictable traffic, the drone of randomly juxtaposed electricity generators powering an entire city, and the thousands of wandering tankers pumping water into apartment blocks. Colorful fields of raw noise evolve into soothing agents of amnesia, in an absurdly elongated post-war period.
“DANCE GROOVES FOR THE WEARY” marks a departure from Two or The Dragon’s usual trademarks. The prevailing attitude here is one of sobriety and caution, undoubtedly as a result of the events that started dismantling the fabric of Lebanese society, from October 2019 to the present day.
Kobeissy's solo piece, on which this EP is based, was composed in the Fall of 2020, following THE most violent summer in Lebanon’s history. As “DANCE GROOVES FOR THE WEARY” progresses, the initial sense of sobriety and caution seems to have run its course. The physical detonation of the drum machine - an agent provocateur of sorts - paves the way for an emotionally charged finale, with faint traces of a Bizet melody and a grinding, distorted daf.
At the heart of this new work is a desire to provide solace for the megalomaniac, the tired, the frightened, the bored, and the hopeful alike. A slap in the face of Lebanon’s ongoing, undeterred collective amnesia.
released May 21, 2021
Two or The Dragon:
Ali Hout: floor-tom, kick drum, Iranian daf, paper clips
Abed Kobeissy: buzuq, effects, drum machine
"Dance Grooves For The Weary" is based on a solo composition by Abed Kobeissy, written and performed for the "Morphine x Beirut" fundraiser in October 2020, re-arranged and adapted for duo by Two or The Dragon in December 2020.
Recorded and mixed by Fadi Tabbal at Tunefork Studios, Beirut.
Produced by Two or The Dragon and Fadi Tabbal.
Mastered by Cedrik Fermont at Syrphe, Berlin.
Artwork by Jana Traboulsi.
Two or The Dragon wish to thank Jana Traboulsi, Pablo Giw, Joss Turnbull, Fadi Tabbal, and Ziad Nawfal. Love and thanks to Gaelle Khalife as well, for all her help and support.
Ruptured Records was founded in 2008 by DJ and radio host Ziad Nawfal and sound engineer & studio owner Fadi Tabbal, as an
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