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A new wave of music

June 24 - 30 , 2020

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Gulf Weekly A new wave of music

Two acts labelled amongst Bahrains’ freshest new wave bands are attracting plaudits from music fans around the globe after being promoted on musical platform, Museland.

As musicians struggle to get heard because live performances are curtailed by Covid-19 restrictions, the record label has stepped forward to provide content production and offer artists a new stage to share their creative sounds.

The platform has debuted songs from Native Tourists and Arabstract and Museland founder and author Ali Al Saeed said: “The two bands represent a new wave of alternative music not just in Bahrain but in the Gulf region, as more original artistes explore fusing genres and styles with electronic live music.”

Arabstract, a two-piece band, fuses electronica with touches of progressive rock and Khaleeji vibes. The act features Maryam Abdulaal on vocals and Abdulla Faisal playing guitars, synths and percussion.

Electronic duo The Native Tourists, featuring Fadal Nazir and Sumit Sharma, create high-energy music by mixing synth-heavy melodies with thick beats and spacey vocals.

The songs are available on all streaming platforms including Spotify, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, iTunes as well as YouTube and Ali urges fans to support the initiative by purchasing their tracks, plugging and having a listen.

“All it takes is to buy a track for 300fils or 500fils – that’s like the cost of one falafel sandwich!” added Ali. “It’s a small gesture but it would mean a lot to the artists. I urge people to go online, look up Bahrain and region-based artists and support them directly. Buy a track, leave them a comment and share their music.

“Music is often taken for granted,” he said. “It’s in every aspect of our lives yet we sometimes forget what goes behind not only making it, but promoting it and sharing it with the world.

“The current pandemic will have an irreversibly deep impact on how the music industry operates but we’ve seen that happen before. Music is always able to survive, because without it we can’t!”

The debut recording is set to lead up to the release of Museland’s upcoming sixth edition compilation album at the end of this summer. It will feature cover art by Bahraini DJ, producer, designer and artist Fawaz Alolaiwat.

“The compilation features outstanding new music from local and regional artists and is one of the few regular series that gives a platform for such talent,” added Ali.

The compilation series started in 2009 and for the past decade, Ali has been discovering new music and artists, as well as reflecting on the latest trends found on the local and regional scene.

“We’ve been mostly hunkering down,” explained Ali. “It’s been a challenging, frustrating few months and still no-one seems to know which direction this will go for the music scene. However, it’s clear that the community is not standing still and is being very active online with a spike in the number of streaming and online live shows, and the release of newly-recorded music.

“The sixth edition is a continuation of that premise, or painting a good representation of where music is and is going. It was evident to me, based on what I’ve seen in the past few months, that it will likely feature more electronic and synth-based music.

“Bands such as Arabstract and Native Tourists in Bahrain and Galaxy Juice and Altersal from Kuwait, are exploring music in new ways to express their sound and musical direction. Other bands featured will include Pop Suicide, Monteath and WYWY from Dubai, Ghada and JWA from Saudi Arabia and many others.”

The goal remains the same; to discover new artists while also pushing musical boundaries and challenging trends. He added: “We’ve been looking at our options and trying to shift the focus to meet the current circumstance. We’re looking at releasing more music, more content and explore the idea of taking the Museland experience online to provide artists with a platform to perform, to share and to create their music. Ultimately, we want to help create and maintain an independently-driven, self-sustained, creatively-innovative music community.”

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