DUBAI: Syrian-Canadian guitarist, composer, producer and lyricist Rawad A. Massih released his new album earlier this month, giving fans of trippy, other-worldly music something new to enjoy.
Aptly named “Away from Planet Earth,” the gloriously eerie new album features tracks such as “Vacant Planet,” marked by its synth-filled melodic landscape, and “Out of the Black Hole.”
Conjuring up imagery of pot marked swathes of rusty-red land on Mars and serene, slightly sinister scenes from outer space, the album features transitional silences cut through with overwhelming bursts of 1980s-style synthesizers.
“I wanted to do a record that has this 1980s synthesizer feeling, but (in) a modern context,” Massih said in a released statement, “like the dark soundtracks that are used in films today. That's why I added orchestral and industrial elements to some tracks.”
Keen listeners will be able to spot one thing in common with all seven tracks — each is split into two musically distinct phases, there is always a transition point.
With a background in heavy metal music, Massih sought to create something new for listeners with this album, a mix of a dark retro-futurism with classical elements that seeks to take his audience on a trip “between the stars,” according to the musician.
Music videos, or “visualizers,” for all seven tracks were released online on July 20, with the titular track featuring a space-themed story in written form emblazoned across the screen.
The “Away from Planet Earth” clip features a narrative about mankind being forced to seek refuge on other planets after the “Great Extinction War” —a wry comment on the future of humanity perhaps?
Previously part of the now-dissolved band, The Hourglass, Massih is considered one of the pioneers of heavy metal music in the region and now experiments with a variety of genres.
Massih built his own production studio in Lebanon in 2017 and started recording and producing music unilaterally. His first solo album, “Ancient Hope” was released in 2017, before he eventually signed with Universal Music MENA in March 2019.
The multi-talented artist is also set to release his first original music score for a TV series before the end of 2019.