The Lebanese musician and puppeteer Yara Asmar has done it once again with the release of her newest album, ‘synth waltzes and accordion laments’ — a collection of home recordings Yara produced from her home in Beirut.
Perfecting the craft of conveying raw emotions into musical harmonies and melodies that are nothing short of powerful – Asmar’s latest album brims with striking contrasts.
Serenity, peace, calm, and tranquillity — these words might pop into one’s mind when listening to the album. However, the message of the musical work itself speaks volumes beyond the realm of sound alone.
Asmar’s album has a unique and distinctive appeal to it. Reeling in listeners so effortlessly with its soothing tones is nothing short of genius. While in the literal perspective, ‘synth waltzes and accordion laments’ is crafted with a sense of delicateness, the message it conveys is quite the opposite.
The album’s intimacy and how Asmar can seamlessly channel her psyche’s inner machinations into a musical work of art that is charged with subtle yet impactful feelings and emotions is a beautiful and effective contrast.
Kicking off the album with ‘to die in the country‘, the lowkey and patient expressions of ‘synth waltzes and accordion laments’ are immediately evident to listeners. With gentle melodies of the synth immersed with a reverberating aura, the soothing melodies that listeners will continuously encounter throughout the album are effectively introduced.
Other songs from the album such as ‘from gardens in the city we keep alive‘, ‘everything is wrapped in cling film’, “it is 5:00 pm and nothing bad has happened to us (yet)‘, ‘three clementines on the counter of a blue-tiled sun-soaked kitchen‘ also possess a similar vibe of mystical synth melodies serenading listeners into a sense of peace and thought-provoking meditation.
The song ‘i liked it better when we lived on see-saw hill’ is a masterclass in her intelligent use of silence to make her pieces that much more impactful. It sends a message that something is still to be appreciated, even in presumed emptiness or absence.
On the other hand, songs in particular, namely, ‘objects lost in drawers (found again at the most inconvenient times)‘, and ‘Jumana‘ exude the melancholic aura of the accordion. In Asmar’s hands, her grandmother’s accordion has taken on a new form as a tool that echoes the melodies of her heart into an intimate symphony.
Stretching the boundaries of experimental music, the haunting and hypnotic ‘are these your hands? would you like them back?’ contains both the unbound musical dexterity of Asmar and creative spoken word poetry from Majd Chidiac.
To close the album, ‘come back later‘ serves as the final send-off. Ever faithful to the enchanting and magical aura of the album from the very beginning all the way to the end, the last song encapsulates the pure and intimate collection of emotions that Asmar has boldly exposed to the world.
Indeed, Asmar’s ‘synth waltzes and accordion laments’ is a riveting work of music that is not bound to any single genre or interpretation. The intimate and hypnotic melodies she has serenaded her listeners with will definitely leave a lasting and efficacious impression.