Upcoming albums to end the year on a high note

Updated 19 September 2018
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Upcoming albums to end the year on a high note

  • Check out the upcoming albums of the year
  • Here is a list of new music to look out for

DUBAI: Very few artists are synonymous with a genre — but David Guetta is the emissary of EDM, the head honcho of house. The Frenchman might get flak from detractors about his live performance style, but it is unlikely the multi-platinum-selling DJ and producer loses much sleep over it. “7,” his seventh studio outing (queue the memes), is a double album jam-packed with sizzling crossover collaborations featuring pop/hip-hop luminaries such as Justin Bieber, Sia, G-Eazy and Nicki Minaj. With another runaway hit on the cards, slowing down does not appear to be in 50-year old Guetta’s plans.

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Muse, “Simulation Theory”
November 9, Warner Bros. Records

With a career spanning 25 years, and their previous record debuting at number one in an almost implausible 21 countries, the tireless threesome do not seem to have much left to prove. And yet Muse are never short of ambition. For their eighth studio LP, the Grammy-guzzling, stadium-rock royalty have enlisted an all-star roster of producers that includes pop powerhouse Timbaland, and have commissioned cover art from a designer of posters for major Hollywood movie hits. Expect a majestic alt-rock affair laced with soaring vocals, blistering musicianship and Muse’s trademark knack for tasteful theatrics.

Sharmoofers, “Enfesam”
October/November, Independent

The Egyptian gurus of groove are, hands down, the ultimate party band. They have been taking the Middle East by storm since 2012 with their infectious hooks, wildly entertaining lyrics and indomitable energy on the stage. If “Paranoia,” their 2015 debut, was the sound of trendsetters dancing to their own tune, “Enfesam” chronicles a coming of age, as well as a first foray into romantic themes. They are branching out and growing — naturally — but with a playful abandon of a kind that only the Sharmoofers know how.

Twenty One Pilots, “Trench”
October 5, Fueled By Ramen

It is hard to believe that this trailblazing electro/hip-hop and alt/indie-rock duo have been working the international touring circuit for almost 10 years. 2015’s “Blurryface” became the first album in history to have every track certified at least gold in the US. And with “Trench,” their fifth LP, it is official: the Pilots are ruthless, go-getting, hit-maker machines. “Jumpsuit” is already the decade’s fastest-rising No. 1 single on Billboard’s Alternative Songs radio-airplay chart, though the full album is still awaiting release.

Le Trio Joubran, “The Long March”
October 12, Cooking Vinyl

To say that Samir, Wissam and Adnan Joubran merely play music could almost be regarded as an insult. The three oudists use “the king of instruments” as a conduit, a beating heart that unites them in an impassioned, deeply spiritual form of expression. For their long-awaited new LP they have teamed up with the legendary Roger Waters on the moving lead single, “Carry the Earth.” The album is a profound poetic canvas for their unique brand of experimentation — and an artistic triumph that looks certain to endure.

Josh Groban, “Bridges”
September 21, Reprise

A jack of all trades can avoid “master of none” territory only if they are capable of jumping from one role to another with an effortless, chameleonic elegance. Josh Groban is made of the stuff. He is a prolific film and TV actor, but it is his instantly recognizable voice that has helped the award-winning multi-instrumentalist sell more than 25 million classical/pop crossover albums worldwide. His highly anticipated eighth LP includes high-profile guest appearances by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah McLachlan, and features Groban singing in various languages.

Sigala, “Brighter Days”
September 21, Ministry of Sound/Columbia

Bruce Fielder ¬— better known as Sigala — is only about to drop his first full-length album. Incredibly, however, he recently hit the landmark of 1 billion streams on Spotify, while as many as six of his singles have hovered inside the top 10 of the UK singles chart. “Easy Love,” his 2015 debut, even reached No. 1. The English house and dance-pop DJ, producer and remixer has assembled a stellar line-up of collaborators, including Craig David, Nile Rodgers, Meghan Trainor and French Montana. One to watch closely.

Ibrahim Maalouf, “Levantine Symphony No. 1”
Out now, Universal Music

The French-Lebanese trumpet player and composer has always sought to demolish clichés with his unconventional arrangements and rhythms. His melodies and harmonies translate a musical upbringing enveloped by the mystique of the East into an eclectic, neo-classical melange, with jazz and world-music overtones. This might sound like a mouthful to the uninitiated but Maalouf’s greatest gift stems from his ability to craft a masterwork that transcends stereotypical complexities, leaving the listener with an inspiring opus that is both diverse and speaks with a confident, unified voice.

Cher, “Dancing Queen”
September 28, Warner Bros. Records

Cher may be 72 years old but she is the “Goddess of Pop,” Abba are one of the best-selling acts of all time (up there with Cher) and “Mamma Mia” is a massive hit with cinema audiences. So this covers album, which the Oscar, Emmy and Grammy winner was inspired to record following her 2018 appearance in the 2018 sequel to the big-screen musical that everyone begrudgingly adores, gets at least an honorable mention. Irresistible, iconic pop tunes — even if you will not hear anyone admit it.

Jean-Michel Jarre, Equinoxe Infinity
November 16, Sony

Another living legend gearing up to make a statement of note, but unlike others Jean-Michel Jarre is not simply riding on the coattails of his glory days. France’s “godfather of electronic music” is celebrating lifetime sales of more than 80 million units, and half a century of not just performing but relentless innovation, with a sequel to his 1978 landmark “Equinoxe” album. The record focuses on humankind’s relationship with technology, as seen through the pioneering musical lens of a man who has more than 20 studio albums under his belt, and counting. Talk about dedication and perseverance.

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‘Broken Dinners, Postponed Kisses’ tells heart-wrenching story of Syria’s lost artists

Updated 15 November 2018
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‘Broken Dinners, Postponed Kisses’ tells heart-wrenching story of Syria’s lost artists

  • The 93-minute film follows six Syrian artists as they narrate their stories of displacement

BEIRUT: Filmmaker Nigol Bezjian premiered his latest movie “Broken Dinners, Postponed Kisses” with an intimate screening in Beirut on Wednesday night.
The 93-minute film — which features dialogue in Arabic, Armenian, German and English with English-language subtitles — follows six Syrian artists as they narrate their stories of displacement.
Bezjian, an Armenian born in Aleppo, Syria, spoke to Arab News about the experience of making the powerful film and said it was inspired by one of his previous works, “Thank You, Ladies and Gentlemen.”
“The movie is about Syrian refugees in the camps of Lebanon and it stayed with me,” he said about his previous film. “But I wanted to make a film about people in our region who had to depart their homeland, from the time of the end of World War I until today.”
That sparked the idea for his latest venture.
Bezjian chose six characters and honed in on their past experiences in what turned out to be an insightful peek through the keyhole into the lives of those who have been affected by the strife in Syria.
“The characters in the film are artists who work in different disciplines of art,” he explained.

“The film is something of a documentary, as the characters’ stories are all real, yet the concept that ties them all together was created by me,” the filmmaker continued.
Making an appearance are filmmaker Vartan Meguerditchian, actor Ayham Majid Agha, musician Abo Gabi, dancer Yara Al-Hasbani, painter Diala Brisly and photographer Ammar Abd Rabbo.
The film explores the inner feelings and reflections of people who had to leave their homes and be transported to a new environment, facing many challenges along the way.
Despite the sometimes heart-wrenching subject matter, Bezjian noted that the main challenges he faced while producing the film were budget and timeframe.
“The movie took two-and-a-half years (to make), so the main challenge was not to give up and keep the same spirit and momentum throughout this time,” he said.