New record label in Dubai

This week: a long-awaited local album, a special guest and a familiar friend

Good news! There’s a new record label in town, founded with the worthy aim of shedding light on the region’s underground rock scene. Guitar-based music took something of a blow when Spellbind Records – home of major local bands including Nervecell and Absolace – folded a few months ago. We’re hoping some of the void could be filled by Abbreviated Records, a new amateur label based – oddly enough – between Dubai and Dublin. There’s already a handful of releases out on abbreviatedrecords.com, but we’re most excited about talk of a compilation of Middle Eastern punk and hardcore, featuring bands from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, Lebanon and the UAE. We’ve heard a January release is on the cards, with all profits going towards labourers in Dubai.

Speaking of local releases, we’re thrilled that Kamal Mussalam’s stunning latest record has finally seen the light of day. Originally conceived and recorded back in 2009, Lulu is an ambitious work that saw the Jordanian guitarist and oud player collaborating with both Emirati folk band Sokoor Al Magabeel and modern UAE modern funk band Abri (who have since sadly split). With a repertoire of traditional Emirati songs, new material and familiar classics, the culture-mashing line-up performed a memorable gig to 20,000 people at Womad in Abu Dhabi in April 2009, but the album they made together never went on sale – until now. The UAE tribute received a belated release for National Day this year.

At the other end of the musical spectrum, we’ve heard high-end club Cirque du Soir has signed a new special guest for its weekly Freaks and Beats night. Starting in the new year, Virgin Radio DJ and Time Out columnist Kris Fade (by no means a freak) will be rocking the decks and mic at the club every Friday.

Change is also afoot over at Horizon Lounge. Once a pumping, popular nightspot, this summer the Habtoor Grand venue suddenly pulled the plug on its DJ and started closing at 6pm. But now the venue has launched a new poolside chillout concept, running from noon to 1am daily, with a new food menu but no DJ. Expect a full report soon.

That’s all for now party people – it’s time to get out and play.

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