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Liliane Chlela Dives Deeper into Darkness in New Album ‘Safala’

The Lebanese electronic musician confronts conventions with experimental sounds.

At the forefront of Lebanese experimental electronic music stands Liliane Chlela. The musician’s second album Safala plays with an unchartered combination of sounds tapping into an intensely dark place.

Experimental and atmospheric, Chlela does not seek to soothe listeners with her new album, but rather aims to address the limits of what listeners consider to be music. With footstep sounds as 808s and sandpaper scratching against itself to emulate hi-hats, Safala goes beyond tranquilising and agitates perceived creative barriers.

‘Bahr Ghettas’, from the new album, is Chlela’s challenge to herself as she limits her use of instruments to a single use. One accordion, one note: whether it be sped up or slowed down, high or low-pitch, it remains within the realm of a singular accordion note.

While various tracks from the album are chopped up with deliberately inconsistent pauses, ‘Moukassarat’, by contrast, plays as a harmonious sound that touches between the experiences of tension and melancholy.
A song perhaps best exemplifying her signature aesthetic, though, is ‘Zaybak W Rsas’, which hosts eclectic, loud, and monophonic synths, as each note attempts to provoke a reaction from listeners.

Chlela’s works, evidently, are not for casual listening, and almost demand the commitment of analysis. But the fine execution of her experimental music invites all listeners to consider it as a new sound.