Alif is the collective sound of five musicians at the forefront of independent music in the Arab world. Conceived in 2012 and taking its name from the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, Alif features Khyam Allami (oud), Tamer Abu Ghazaleh (vocals and buzuq), Bashar Farran (bass), Maurice Louca (keys and electronics), and Khaled Yassine(drums and percussion). Both Maurice Louca and Kyham Allami’s previous CTM appearances — with the Dwarfs of East Agouza (2016) and supporting Sunn O))) (2014) respectively suggest an evening of high intensity and contrasts.
The band's wide-ranging influences, along with their unified and intriguing energy, give birth to a soundscape that is at once familiar and unknown. Their self-produced debut, Aynama-Rtama (Wherever It Falls), released in 2015, is a reflection of its time and environment. Recorded between Beirut and Cairo, it traces a complex labyrinth of genres, sounds, and emotions, rendered as a unique postcard of the tumultuous rollercoaster ride of its time.
Maurice Louca's gritty electronic percussion melds with Khyam Allami's rhythmic oud, and builds until the explosion of a driving rhythmic section, backing Tamer Abu Ghazaleh's frenzied buzuq, leads to a cinematic climax of soaring strings and raging drums. The startling synergy of these five musicians is retained throughout. From the melancholic beauty of "Dars Min Kama Sutra (A Lesson from Kama Sutra)”, which features the tantalizing verses of renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (1942-2008), to the majestic and surreal album-closer "Eish Jabkum Hon? (What Brings You Here?)," penned by the band's own Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, each track bursts with rhythmic drive and fervour.
Hobocombo originated as a tribute to Louis Thomas Hardin, alias Moondog, an eccentric American composer active in New York in the 1950s and 60s, who anticipated the minimalist tendencies later popularized by Philip Glass and Steve Reich, among others. The project will appear as a solo configuration, with drummer and composer Andrea Belfi performing the Trimba, an instrument conceived by Moondog and instantly recognizable on his most famous early records. Besides the Trimba, Belfi will also play a synthesizer and sampler. Belly has collaborated with musicians such as Nils Fram, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Circuit des Yeux, Andrea Parkins, Werner Dafeldecker and BjNilsen, and has released five solo albums and over fifty collaborative records on labels including ROOM40, Miasmah, and Constellation.
Hard to pin down and ever-evolving, SpatzHabibi are an Anglo-German DJ team from Berlin with a penchant for far-flung sounds and plenty of breaks. Don’t be surprised to hear Egyptian hits mixed with modern Romanian psych, downbeat balearic off-beats colliding with the stick-hit of a talking drum. This is a journey around the globe ending in an unheard of place, both exotic and emotional.