Listen to an epic new work of Psychedelic Shaabi by the PRAED Orchestra!


We first encountered Praed in 2016 on the excellent Lebanese label Annihaya, with Fabrication of Silver Dreams. You can read our review here, but suffice to say we were quite taken with their noisy hyperactive energy. They followed this up with last year’s Doomsday Survival Kit on Akuphone (review here), which continued the bombast of psychedelic shaabi melded with elements of rock and electronics. It’s a strange and beautifully transcendent brew that embraces both chaos and repetition, weirdly blurring freejazz with minimalism. Admittedly very loud minimalism.

It takes an adventurous soul to think that the only thing this noisey sonic maelstrom needs is more. Yet that’s precisely what they’ve done. Their new label, Morphine writes:

“PRAED started working on an ambitious expansive project: an orchestra that could transpose this study of rural and popular culture into an immense, iconic work. In autumn 2018, supported by the Sharjah Art Foundation, PRAED Orchestra! premiered Live in Sharjah, interpreting new material merged with some of the band’s iconic pieces.”

‘Embassy of Embarrassment’ is our first taste of this immense undertaking, released as a 3LP set, with a line-up consisting of some of the most interesting artists around.

Paed Conca: Clarinet, Electric Bass, Electronics
Raed Yassin: Synthesizers, Vocals, Electronics
Alan Bishop: Alto Saxophone, Vocals
Nadah El Shazly: Vocals, keyboard, Electronics
Christine Kazarian: Electric Harp
Hans Koch: Bass Clarinet, Soprano Sax
Martin Kuchen: Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Sax
Maurice Louca: Keyboard, Organ
Radwan Ghazi Moumneh: Buzuk, Vocals, Modular Synthesizer
Sam Shalabi: Electric Guitar, Oud
Ute Wassermann: Vocals, Mouth Harp, Whistles
Khaled Yassine: Drums, Percussion, Darbuka
Michael Zerang: Drums, Percussion

It’s pretty mind blowing particularly when you consider how the additional artists have really enhanced and extended upon the music. In this piece the addition of orchestral vocals and brass really elevates proceedings to a whole new level.

Live in Sharjah is released on Morphine records on the 1st of November 2020. You can find it here.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.