BEIRUT: Coming together for a laid back night of honest and spontaneous musical expression, The Ballroom Blitz hosted its very first edition of the “Untitled” series last Thursday.
Walking into The Ballroom Blitz, the setup of The Lobby was tailor-made to fit the theme of the night with half of the space closed off for a more intimate sound experience. The dimmed red lights, along with the setup of a living room on both sides of the room only served to enhance the overall intimate feel of the night.
The event consisted of both DJ sets and live performances spread out across The Lobby and The Goldroom respectively. The lineup for the DJ sets included Karen Keyrouz, Firas El Hallak, Aia Atoui, Mehrak, and Ziad Nawfal.
As for the live performances, The Goldroom hosted Charbel Haber, a collaboration between Anthony Sahyoun and Jad Atoui, Groovebox Kid (also known as Kid Fourteen), and Ziad Moukarzel.
The artists expressed how “it’s very familiar and family-like” to play together as the first lineup of the series as all of them are friends that hang out all the time.
“It’s nice that we’re all like a small community in the scene,” Groovebox Kid told to Annahar.
He also talked about the sound changes that had to be made for the performance, as Groovebox Kid is “now experimenting with electro using machines,” which is “a bit stressful and completely different.”
“I’m playing original electro, which has nothing to do with Kid Fourteen, so I’m not even adjusting my sound. It’s a different project altogether from scratch,” he added.
Haber, who performed live using guitar pedals to process sounds, described to Annahar that The Goldroom was “in my favor” due to the superior audio quality that matches the texture and sounds played.
He continued explaining how for “Untitled”, his sounds was not changed but is “a continuation of what I do. It’s in the same direction actually, I think the best will be from ambient to more electronic, 80s electronica, or rawer electronics, if I may say.”
The performances naturally transitioned from one artist to another, maintaining the smooth sound flow in the Goldroom. Collaborating for the first time publicly, Anthony Sahyoun and Jad Atoui explained how the duo process of their performance works.
“Everything harmonic and melodic either comes out from me and goes in the mixer and then the signal goes to Anthony to, in return, process and pitch the sound,” Atoui said.
While the artists did not feel the pressure or compliance to shift their sound, Aia Atoui explained how her sound was translated into The Ballroom Blitz after starting DJing at Demo.
“Adapted into the style that was happening here; techno and all that stuff, into the genre that I really like to play which is mostly hip hop, trap, footwork, and different genres,” she said, “The Lobby was a bit scarier because it was the entrance area where all different sorts of people come in, and I didn’t know if they would take in the things that I was playing, but they did.”
Moukarzel, who’s no stranger to all three rooms of The Ballroom Blitz, found it a pleasure to play at the Untitled series which brought different artists from different backgrounds together.
“Playing a live performance is a bit different because when I play live, I follow the sound to fix it as it goes, so it’s a bit of a process. It doesn’t have to do much with the acoustics of the rooms as much as it has to do with the sounds that I have,” he told Annahar.
The series will take place on Thursdays once a month.
For the Record," is Annahar's new music section. It aims to cover in-depth the underground independent music scene in Beirut, which has become known around the world for the alchemical mix of local and international artists. This unique and innovative scene, defined by its superior audio-sound quality and the incredible amount of talent, has become the center of attention to many local and international audiences, initiatives, and artists.
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