Good Thing they Didn’t Blend In

In 2003 something really cool happened… A good, solid, impressive showcase of arabic rock band potential… They didn’t blend in, and they weren’t welcomed into the mainstream as much as Jad Chouiri, Dana Dandan, and that girl sucking on a lollypop naked in a pool of cereal… Good thing they didn’t blend in huh!

Too bad they didn’t stick out like a sore thumb either, cuz i have no idea where they are and what they’re doing or if they’ll ever release a second album…

A summarized biography out of their website

blend first got together in 1997 under the name “leviathan” when vocalist jad souaid and guitarist miran gurunian met as students at the american university of beirut. in 1999, jad aouad joined on drums and haytham chalhoub on bass. the band performed the standard canon of rock covers from led zeppelin and pink floyd to pearl jam and radiohead, wherever they could

in early 2002, blend performed at strange fruit in beirut. there they were approached by a representative from EMI who had been in the audience

on october 2002, blend signed its contract with EMI becoming the first “anglo” style rock band ever signed to a major international record label in the middle east, where artists are predominantly solo “pop” singers, do not write their own songs or play their own instruments and rarely perform live in front of large audiences

act one, their first album, comprises 11 tracks written by the band. it tackles sociopolitical issues that are equally relevant to the new generation in lebanon, as they are elsewhere in the middle east and in the west (again this is a first. such topics are not generally encountered in middle eastern lyrics)

the album was recorded and produced in lebanon by philip tohme during a period of 8 months in 2003 and mastered by chris blair at abbey road studios, london. the lead off single is naturally “belong” and its music video was produced and directed by amine dora, whose previous works have been awarded at zinebi festival (spain), unimovie festival (italy) and the european film festival (lebanon) with a first prize. the album also includes collaborations with natacha atlas on “communicate” and the lebanese rapper rayess_bek on “belong revisited”

act one was launched in the middle east on saturday december 27, 2003 at 7 p.m.

Not releasing a second album till now might be because they want their sophomore album to exceed all expectations, or maybe it’s just them being lazy… But for what it’s worth, I listned to it again today, after losing it for a couple of years now, and i still love it as much as i did back when it came out, maybe even more..,

I have a few people in mind that have to get out a pen and take notes while watching the next video; The song is really really good, and the video is extremely well-done… And also, after you watch it try to go download the album, every single song on the album rocks, in its own unique way…

Also… People, Comment


5 responses to “Good Thing they Didn’t Blend In

  1. The song is good, well produced and arranged; it even has some trip hop sound to it, the violins towards the end provides this eastern touch as the song peaks, I like it

    But he ting is, usually we tend to cheer the underdog, If Korea scores against Brazil, we will clap and think its cute, that doesn’t make Korea better than brazil.

    Our music in this part of the world lacks maturity, cultural roots and experience, these bands do not get enough time to build this experience and grow these roots, the rest of the music scene is too commercial because the ears of the listeners are too commercial, you get attempts from here and there, just like this band, but they eventually fade.

    Here in Jordan for example, I came across a lot of talented and ambitious musicians in my college days, I even had myself a little band at that time, but where is everybody now?? Doing everything BUT music.

    I will check the rest of the album for sure.

  2. @Code: The rest of the album is on share :)

  3. I remember those! It used to play on Zain Tv before it blended with Future!
    They used to play a lot of alternative music, these guys, Sahhab and the girl from Soap Kills.

    and btw its not about “ears”, our music is as complex as western music- many musicians here even maximized potentials of westerns instruments, so it really isn’t about “ears”
    it’s simply because Waleed Bin Talal owns the industry (with whatever he is), and there’s no other matching music generating capital..
    throw some cash into sponsoring alternative music and you’ll see it become mainstream

  4. If you throw money around Arabic alternative music, (or any different music than what exists), nothing will happen, nobody will like it, the business potential will fade fast, and the money will be withdrawn, its not about money, money will give you the means to reach people, if the people don’t like what your offering, you will be back where you started.

    We resist change, we like what we have and we are not adventurous enough to explore new genres of music, money will not solve this problem, struggling and stubborn musicians will, it will take time tho.

    And btw, our commercial and popular music is not complex at all, a half decent musician can make ten albums of what is heard (and liked) out there.

  5. thank you for listening! again:)

    The band members lately produced (with Mazen Siblini) another album for the lebanese artist Eileen Khatchadourian. The album is called MIDAN and it won the award for best rock album at the 10th Armenian Music Awards in LA, in 2010.


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