"Right now I’m functioning at 120 percent," says busy producer and musician Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, based in Montreal (with his wife, baby, and another on the way), where he co-owns the Hotel2Tango recording studio, and has profound connections, both musical and personal, with his homeland of Lebanon. Moumneh is currently producing three different albums for three international artists, working on a public sound installation in Dubai, and rehearsing with iconic Indigenous artist Alanis Obomsawin with the band he assembled. And, Daqa'iq Tudaiq, the third album by Jerusalem In My Heart (Moumneh’s experimental Arabic music and analog film projection project with visual artist Charles-André Coderre), comes out October 5.
Moumneh, who left Lebanon during the civil war, describes Daqa'iq Tudaiq as very conceptual "certainly by my standards of how I understand art," he says, pointing to the contrast between side A and side B. Side A "is a rendition of a classic [Egyptian] popular song with the orchestra, and side B is drastic, drastic electronic, me pressing away on the computer, hacking away, making my... harsh music, I guess."
This piece was recorded in a dear friend’s very old Beirut palace with a 15-piece orchestra, each musician hand-picked by Moumneh. The musicians had never played altogether before. The "gigantic" marble room in which they recorded had an "obscene" amount of reverb. Yet working with these beautiful factors of chance in such a soulful, perfect setting ended up contributing to the feeling Moumneh was seeking. "We had to instruct everybody to be playing at a ridiculously quiet level… everything is just delicate, delicate, delicate..." says Moumneh. And the process was lightning fast. "I think the musicians were fascinated by the pace... When I said 'That’s it, we’re done, we have the take,' they were like, 'What are you talking about, don’t you want to perfect it?' I was like, 'I don’t need to perfect it. I got what I needed, that’s what matters. That one little feeling, we got it.'"