Stellar Banger is an electro-acoustic quartet composed of Lebanese musicians Ali Hout and Abed Kobeissy and German musicians Pablo Giw and Joss Turnbull.
The roots of this unique collaboration were laid down during the 2019 iteration of Irtijal Festival in Beirut, when the four men played together for the first time following their respective festival sets. The next year, right before the eruption of the Coronavirus pandemic, they set about working on a set of concrete recordings, from their homes in Beirut, Berlin, Köln and Turin. The resulting, freeform pieces were reworked, stretched and recomposed under varying states of lockdown, over the course of six months and 28 highly kinetic Zoom meetings.
The approach behind Stellar Banger is one of complete musical freedom, away from pre-assigned functions of instrumental / cultural roles, oblivious to the borders separating acoustic and digital media. At the heart of the quartet’s creative process is the notion of instant composing; improvisation with an experimental mindset, drum machines and electronic beats used in an open and intuitive manner, creating an identifiable sonic identity and structure.
Influenced by the absurd realities of a world overridden by COVID-19, far-right politics and bloody popular uprisings, the music might seem chaotic at first; but hidden within a multi-matrix of patterns, rhythms and colors, an elusive yet imposing structure begins to emerge, a pulsating musical bed composed of grainy, poly-layered pink-noise eruptions.
A case in point would be lead track “Data Is,” a bewildering example of musical defragmentation, overlaying sample shreds, stutters and tremolo patterns, unraveling as a sonic reminder of pre-existing musical idioms. The track inexorably builds up and climaxes into a giant cluster of pixels and dots; an audiophiliac prophecy of digitization, set to ghostlike incantations of astronomical objects and cosmic junk data.
Stellar Banger survived COVID-19's reign of terror and the tyranny of border controls thanks to instant voice messages. In this EP release, messages act as both musical tools and narrative elements. They document the difficulties undergone by band members traveling and attempting to meet under lockdown. Aural, often nonsensical snapshots of arguments at airports, border controls, in quarantine; a binary, intercontinental ballistic messenger of friendship, a conveyor of hope through music. An apt representation of today's digital world.
released May 21, 2021
All music composed and performed by Stellar Banger:
Pablo Giw - trumpet, trumpet-beatbox, effects
Ali Hout - percussion, effects, samples
Abed Kobeissy - buzuq, effects
Joss Turnbull - percussion, effects, samples, field recordings
Recorded on Fatima's balcony, Hamra, Beirut in 2019, and at Jaki Club, Stadtgarten, Köln in 2020.
Technical support at Jaki Club by Arin Gevorkaraghi.
Mixed by Pablo Giw.
Mastered by Rashad Becker at Clunk, Berlin.
Artwork by Murtey.
Thanks to Pía, Fatima, Maurits, Niclas, Arin, Felix, Zia, Irtijal Festival and Stadtgarten Köln.
Based in Beirut, indie label Ruptured produces and releases music by Lebanese artists in a variety of formats - with a
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