Upcoming albums to end the year on a high note

Updated 19 September 2018
0

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.

View this post on Instagram

#LetItBeMe feat. @avamax #7isoutnow (link in bio)

A post shared by David Guetta (@davidguetta) on


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.

View this post on Instagram

Equinoxe Infinity - 16.11.18 Link in bio.

A post shared by Jean-Michel Jarre (@jeanmicheljarre) on


Sheikha Alyazia’s ‘mishmash’ of ancient and modern

Her “Mishmash Trails” featured cave-like shapes cut in marble, with the treasure taking the form of imagined ancient eastern coins. (Supplied)
Updated 23 July 2019
0

Sheikha Alyazia’s ‘mishmash’ of ancient and modern

  • Inside the Emirati artist’s inaugural solo exhibition in London, ‘I Met a Traveler From an Antique Land’

LONDON: You are searching for treasure. Several potential locations are marked with an ‘x’ on your map. You move methodically from site to site, always to be met with disappointment — never striking gold. Are you, in following trails set by others, missing the treasure ‘hidden’ in plain view?

This is one of the conundrums posed in the artworks of Sheikha Alyazia Bint Nahyan Al-Nahyan, whose inaugural solo exhibition in London presented a thought-provoking range of work fusing the ancient past with modern life.

Her “Mishmash Trails” featured cave-like shapes cut in marble, with the treasure taking the form of imagined ancient eastern coins, reflecting Arab, Roman and Phoenician influences. She described the coins, embedded in the marble, as symbolic of the great treasures buried in secret locations that were sought out and fought over by many. 

Al-Nahyan named her exhibition — held at Pi Artworks from June 25 to July 7 — with the opening line of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s famous poem “Ozymandias”: “I met a traveler from an antique land.” (Ozymandias is the Greek name for the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II.)

Mishmash Dirham. (Supplied) 

The poem, published in 1818, imagines a meeting between the narrator and a traveller who describes a ruined statue lying in the desert. The description of the statue is a meditation on the fragility of human power and on the effects of time: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings/Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!/Nothing beside remains: round the decay/Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

“Maybe a positive thing from looking to the past is that it proves it is only human to repeat the mistake and the lesson,” Al-Nahyan told Arab News. “Studying the past is a realization of human nature, individually or in groups, right or wrong. This natural feeling of connectivity is something I usually aim for.”

There is humor in some of her work — particularly the depictions of old commercial airline advertisements from the 1950s and 60s with ancient figures superimposed in the frames. They certainly give the viewer pause for thought about how much our world has changed in the short time since air travel became widely available.

The exhibition’s curator, Janet Rady, said of Al-Nahyan: “She has been practicing art from a very young age and is self-taught. She is incredibly talented, and you see this in the wide range of her work, which uses all sorts of different media. I can’t necessarily call her a pop artist or a collage artist or an installation artist; she is in fact all of these things, but it is the concept behind her work — connecting the past with the present — which is important.”

The UAE’s UK ambassador, Mansoor Abulhoul, was present at the opening and he particularly admired Al-Nahyan’s works based on the classic wooden board game Carrom paired with a modern video game.

Carrom Station in Motion. (Supplied) 

“I first played Carrom with my cousins as a boy, and she has combined it with modern computer games, which is very creative,” he said. He pointed out that her innovative work ties in well with the dynamic of the UAE.

“Next year we have EXPO 2020, with its theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.’ It’s very much about our roots and how we take them forward, how we develop the mind and global cooperation,” he said. 

The exhibition included a short clip from Al-Nahyan’s upcoming film “Athel,” written by Al-Nahyan’s sister, Sheikha Shamsa. It centers on a strange encounter in the desert between a pre-Islamic poet and a modern-day TV presenter. “Athel” is set for release later this year and stars Hala Shiha and Mansour Al-Fili.

“The idea behind it all is taken from the tradition of Arabic poetry — its wisdom and, sometimes, risks,” Al-Nahyan explained. “And ending with a realization of one tribal law putting redemption and family before all.” She added that there are some “light-hearted” moments in the film too.

Arabic poetry is an ongoing inspiration for Al-Nahyan’s work, adding another layer of meaning to many of her pieces.

“The Arabic language is poetic, and Arabs and other cultures around the world have documented their lives through poetry,” she said. “So, for example, when tackling the topic of what is considered treasure, we found different meanings in various verses. Like when (pre-Islamic poet) Zuhair Bin Abi Salma refers to glory as the only true treasure.”

There is a much to absorb and reflect on in this exhibition which opens windows into many facets of Arab history and culture and poses universal questions about humanity and what constitutes real treasure.