Marzipan: Vinyl LPHABIBI0231
Label: Habibi Funk
Release Date: 11th August
Habibi Funk with their first contemporary record and it already sounds like a classic collection of heavy Lebanese library funk or 'Lebrary' as Charif Megarbane calls it. Some real bangers on this.
Habibi Funk is excited to share "Marzipan" - our first full length contemporary release courtesy of Beirut's multi-instrumental phenom Charif Megarbane, also known as the man behind prolific Cosmic Analog Ensemble. The LP is a journey into Charif's styling, one he terms "Lebrary": a vision of Lebanon + Mediterranean expressed through the kaleidoscopic sonics of library music. Drawing from artists that encapsulates the HF sound, such as Ziad Rahbani, Ahmed Malek and Issam Hajali, Charif translates these influences into an LP that is equally at home in '23. We always wondered why Charif's music stayed under the radar for so long, that all changes with "Marzipan", out July 14.
Charif Megarbane, the staggeringly prolific producer, instrumentalist, and all-around musical mastermind returns with full LP "Marzipan." Following his previous release of EP "Tayara Warak" in 2022, "Marzipan" is a sonic journey that seeks to capture the full scope of Megarbane's habitus. As a composer and producer, Megarbane touts hugely versatile, sometimes volatile musicianship — his 100+ catalogue of projects (including legendary groups like the Cosmic Analog Ensemble, Free Association Syndicate, Monumental Detail, etc.) features a huge domain of sonic direction. This collection was previously developed in Megarbane's own Hisstology label which hosts a wealth of collaborative efforts. Now, Habibi Funk represents Megarbane under his own name. Megarbane finds a sonic through-line in his surrounding soundscapes as he draws on the chaotic energy of the crowded Beirut metropolis ("Souk El Ahad"), the warm atmosphere of the Lebanese countryside ("Chez Mounir"), or the lushness of a Mediterranean beach resort ("Portemilio"). Reflecting the aural composition of his direct surroundings into kaleidoscopic instrumentation provides a unique insight into how one musical phenomenon transposes sight into sound. Habibi Funk is thrilled to share "Marzipan" and finally throttle this under-theradar phenomenon into the solo spotlight. Despite the magnitude of his catalog, Megarbane's LP sounds as fresh—as resolutely inspired—as a debut record. "Marzipan" continues down the winding path he trod on EP "Tayyara Warak" (released Decmber, 2022) which features solid footing in the hectic city sounds Megarbane hears as home. Despite his obvious musical acumen, Megarbane's greatest talent seems to be his open ears. In many ways, "Marzipan" is a cartographic feat — it travels and traces a journey across many dimensions (both sonic and physical). Megarbane's instrumental catalogue is vast: toy glockenspiel, harpsichord, pedal steel, a classic Wurlitzer, et al are used liberally on the record. The resultant sound is as sprawling as the musician's instrumental dexterity. "Marzipan's" closing track "Bala 3anouan" can be translated loosely to "without address" — a fitting final word. Despite the entire record being a sincere testament to Megarbane's environmental approach to music-making, the record is not bound to any particular coordinates, or any particular sound for that matter. The vastness of his influences — beloved artists like Ahmed Malek and Issam Hajali (both Habibi Funk veterans); West African funk deep cuts; European cinematic scores; et al — result in a record of somewhat unparalleled expansiveness. Floating melodies and frantic rhythmic interludes both find natural homes across "Marzipan." The record is tinged with psychedelic elements—fuzz-drenched guitar, sliding microtonal interludes, hypnotic rhythmic breakdowns. Reflecting on his creative process, Megarbane cites a stream of consciousness approach: "It's a very spontaneous, playful, and diary-like approach and workflow…I trust my instinct because instinct is based on experience." Lead single "Souk El Ahad" opens the roll-out with a raucous energy, out June 12. Megarbane abstracts busy city sounds into a psychedelic framework, casting technicolor hues on everyday experience. Following is second single "Pas de Dialogue" out June 23. The track jerks the listener towards a more meditative state with lulling harpsichord and expanding, cinematic sound. "Marzipan" will be available physically and digitally everywhere on July 14, 2023. Be sure to listen for focus track "Chez Mounir" that captures the warmth of community in a joyful, laidback groove.