Last month, Lebanese indie stalwart, Zeid Hamdan, and celestially voiced Syrian singer, Lynn Adib, unleashed the first taste of their collaborative project, Bedouin Burger. Steeped in the kind-of east/west fusion that the act’s name suggests, ‘That El Ward’ arrived as a sandstorm of sound; Hamdan's production drew from in from his own indie-pop traditions, while weaving in influences of Egyptian pop and melodic Arabic poetry, using analog synths, old drum machines and acoustic recordings to weave a colourful Bedouin tapestry. 

This time round, the twosome dial things down considerably for 'Ya Man Hawa', though the classical Arab influences  still very much provide the foundations. In the previous release, Adib's deep appreciation for Bedouin culture found her looking to the chant-based taghrooda style of singing for inspiration; this time, the track is inspired by Andalusian Muwashah.

“A Muwashah is the name for both an Arabic poetic form and a secular musical genre,” the duo write. “The poetic form consists of a multi-lined strophic verse poem written in classical Arabic, usually consisting of five stanzas, alternating with a refrain with a running rhyme.” What this translates to is to is a hypnotic, minimalist track that really breaks down its elements, each peaking and retreating around the delivery of Adib’s vocals.

“If my heart were with me, I would not have chosen others,” Adib sings in the opening, over flat, quick pulses, the stabbing, mechanical, bassy synths that threaten to usher in something that never comes. At the one-minute mark, Hamdan begins to weave in other elements, as if this were a organic, live performance. He creates a simple, clean soundscape for the rest of Adib’s vocals to reign supreme, though at its peak the beat switches to a sparse, irregular trip-hop beat, while single waves of sound glide in. 

It’s at the end that you’ll get a quick shot of the kind of pseudo-psychedelic glints that made the previous single such a mind-trip. Adib’s vocals are mirrored into a deep, globby distortion to create a sort-of dissonant harmony between it and Adib’s creeping emotional delivery. The duo have not only set the bar high for their fusion of east and west, but they've set it in some kind of left-field desert. What a third single might sound like is almost impossible to predict at this point.

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Photo by Bachar Srour.