This book offers the first in-depth study of experimental and popular music scenes in Beirut, looking at musicians working towards a new understanding of musical creativity and music culture in a country that is dominated by mass-mediated pop music, and propaganda. Burkhalter studies the generation of musicians born at the beginning of the Civil War in the Lebanese capital, an urban and cosmopolitan center with a long tradition of cultural activities and exchanges with the Arab world, Europe, the US, and the former Soviet Union. These Lebanese rappers, rockers, death-metal, jazz, and electro-acoustic musicians and free improvisers choose local and transnational forms to express their connection to the broader musical, cultural, social, and political environment.
Much has been written on urban sprawl and music — in relation to the punk / post-punk period specifically (the new interdisciplinary journal Punk & Post-Punk is forthcoming with a special 2012 issue on Manchester, in fact) — and yet I wonder if there’s been anything done with popular music and suburbia that has taken on the band Modest Mouse. Far from having time for this project myself, but it seems that the band’s albums are full of references to suburbia, car-culture, the shopping mall-phenomenon Continue reading →