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Irtijal 14 opening night : Nicolas Artuso-Royer, Osman Arabi, Michael Thieke, Boris Baltschun, Koen Nutter, Morten J. Olsen

April 2, 2014 8:30 pm

Irtijal is today the oldest music festival of the city of Beirut and one of the longest-standing international festivals of post-war Lebanon, celebrating its 10th anniversary in April 2010. Irtijal is organized by mill, a non-profit association founded in 2000 by Mazen Kerbaj and Sharif Sehnaoui to promote contemporary and experimental practices in music, and to assist projects that do not fit into the Lebanese mainstream, yet still present undeniable artistic value.

Wednesday April 2 at 8:30 pm

“Carte blanche” to Nicolas Artuso-Royer (CA) Nicolas Artuso-Royer: oud, violin + guests

Nicolas Royer-Artuso is a linguist, musicologist, oud player, violinist, and music teacher from Canada. Following studies in classical western music, jazz, and electro-acoustic composition, he decided to devote himself to maqam, studying in Morocco, Tunisia, Syria, and Turkey. A key aspect of his musical work is the theoretical and practical use of “heterophony”. Royer-Artuso is a founding member of theater-oriented political collective nü.kolektif, for which he composes, co-directs, plays, and acts. He lives in Istanbul and is an active contributor to the city’s traditional music and free improvisation scenes.

Osman Arabi solo (lb) Osman Arabi: electric guitar

A unique figure in the international noise and industrial music scenes, Osman Arabi is a composer, producer, and sound designer from Tripoli, Lebanon. His work elicits images of desolate industrial landscapes and shamanistic rites, and encompasses such genres as dark ambient, industrial, tribal, psychedelic, electro-acoustic, power electronics, and noise. Arabi’s numerous projects include seeker, Kafan, Veinen, shamanic death trance, the ritual inclusion of code, harsh electronics outfit 20.SV, as well as nihilist Dutch collective stalaggh. For over a decade Osman has been developing his “occult guitar” playing based on the sigil work of Austin Osman spare in complete obscurity, which wasn’t brought to light until late 2013 to become the essence of his live rituals.

The pitch (de/no/nl) Michael Thieke: clarinet Boris Baltschun: Harmona Koen Nutters: double-bass Morten J. Olsen: drums

Formed in Berlin in 2009, the pitch is an experimental music quartet that explores the tension between tone, pitch, duration, and rhythmic interplay. Relying on bass-patterned structures and prescribed pitch combinations, the pitch creates what the four musicians refer to as “liquid music”. Improvisation is an important element in their music, used as a generative device within specific shapes, structures, and ideas. The four musicians’ combined experience in improvised music and sound-art makes the pitch an ideal starting point for new ideas in collective composition, and for the execution of conceptually grafted, open-form pieces. They have created a personal musical language and a body of work ranging from quartet music to extended, large-scale ensemble pieces, involving guest musicians and further conceptual elements.

The concerts of day 1 will be preceded by the launch of two new releases: Lebanese sound artist Nadim Mishlawi’s first music album, a beautifully packaged triple-cd collector box-set. The artist will be present at Beirut art center starting 8 pm, to sign copies of his album, which is a joint release from Annihaya and totem recordings.

Trace, a collaboration between prolific British musician Mike Cooper and Australian musician Chris Abrahams, the newest release from Lebanese improv label Al-Maslakh.