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CW Tapes

Sound collages collected by Raed Yassin, out as 12′ on Discrepant.

In this 24-minute composition, released here in its original name for the first time, 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; they effortlessly conjure the collective memory of children, teenagers and adults alike. 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 in which sounds ebb and flow as if they were heard in a dream (or nightmare).