Julia Sabra & Fadi Tabbal

“Snakeskin”, a co-release by Beirut’s Ruptured and Portland’s Beacon Sound, is an album of visionary electronic dream pop, shapeshifting above ambient and industrial undercurrents.

It is moody, unsettling, luminous – the culmination of a decade of collaboration and friendship between Lebanese producer / musician / engineer Fadi Tabbal and singer-songwriter Julia Sabra from Beirut-based indie trio Postcards.

The duo began working on “Snakeskin” in the aftermath of the August 2020 Beirut port explosion, which killed at least 218 people, injured 7,000, and left over 300,000 people homeless. Indeed, Julia’s home was destroyed by the explosion and her partner and bandmate Pascal badly injured. The first song that the first song that Fadi and Julia wrote together afterwards was ‘Roots’, which closes out the album and first appeared for the Ruptured-curated live series “The Drone Sessions” in the fall of 2020.

“Snakeskin” utilizes tape loops, synthesizers, vocals, and drum machines, combining Julia’s pop-inspired melodies and choral roots with Fadi’s affinity for minimalism and musique concrète. The album seamlessly incorporates the melancholy electro-pop of ‘All The Birds’, the quiet menace of ‘In Our Garden’, and the beat-driven ‘Signs’. The title track sums up their frame of mind, beginning as a lullaby and evolving into a glittering tapestry of distortion and feedback.

As the artists write, “Snakeskin” is a product of “the disappearance of life as we know it, and with it the decay of nature and living creatures. There is no rebirth, no renewal. It’s about what it means to feel at home in such a place.”

Some tracks were also inspired by events happening in the surrounding region, such as the invasion of Armenia by Azerbaijan and the Palestinian uprising of May 2021 (Sheikh Jarrah) – both events shedding light on relationships to home and land across the wider region. That such compelling art can emerge from unceasing tragedy may be the ultimate testament to human resilience and the pursuit of freedom and justice.

Stream “Snakeskin” LP on Bandcamp.

Recent music from Middle East