CW Tapes


"In this 24-minute composition, released here in its original name for the first time, Raed Yassin encapsulates and condenses the aural and sonic landscapes experienced by those who bore witness to the war. In the 1980s, while the Lebanese Civil War, which ravaged the country between 1975 and 1990, was raging, television but particularly transistor radios were the only means through which people heard the news during interminable periods of power cuts or waiting in basement shelters. The audio material was collected by Yassin on his regular trips to the dispersed and neglected archives of militias and political parties, radio, and TV stations, and record shops across Lebanon. Built from over 300 hours of material, Yassin has woven together a composition using political speeches; radio and television commercials; news flashes and jingles; local '80s pop music; dubbed Japanese anime songs; propaganda, resistance, and revolutionary party songs; snippets from Ziad Rahbani plays, and many more. The recordings in CW Tapes are the sonic equivalents of Proust's madeleines to any individual who was old enough to remember the war and its immediate aftermath. Commercials, songs, and speeches collide and intertwine as if Yassin had plugged a radio tuner into his mind, sounding out a deeply personal sonic terrain that echoes the hidden sonic memories of his contemporaries. Beside the diversity of its sounds, what is most striking in this record is the minute attention to the musicality of the different recordings Yassin uses, whether they are propaganda pieces, vocal patterns or news jingles. What you hear in the beginning of the CW Tapes, for example, is Raed Yassin's fascination for the different political and musical figures that populated the Lebanese media landscape across the 1980s. In this bewildering introduction, he highlights the absurdity of the war by lacing together a political speech given by Bachir Gemayel with a frivolous and upbeat pop song by Lebanese pop singer Sammy Clark whose tunes are heard at different moments in the piece. The composition unfurls an array of overlapping tonalities and textures as well as a glossolalia made of processed voices that inhabited the archaic technologies of the time . . . In his continuous efforts to mine and work through the sonic archives of Lebanon's recent past, the CW Tapes is possibly Yassin's most personal output to date." --Rayya Badran, Beirut, January 2019 Mastered and Cut by Rashad Becker