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  • Alternative Tuesdays at Cairo Jazz Club: Coke Machine, PanSTARRS, Latēfall & More

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    Alternative is a troublesome word when it comes to music – what does it actually mean? Underground? Anything that’s ‘not normal’? What even is normal? It’s a tricky one that has been discussed through the ages, but let’s not drown in the intellectual deep-end – for Cairo Jazz Club, ‘alternative’ this month means some of the most unique acts in the country; guys and gals that push the musical boundaries beyond what anyone else is doing – and if there ever was a time to take a trip to the musical ‘other’, it’s now.

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    First up on Tuesday 7 is a double header featuring the inimitable Ahmed Saleh. Known to most as one of the founders of Alexandrian post-rock outfit, Telepoetic, Saleh started to break out and form a sound of his own when teaming up with Abdullah El Minniawy and CJC has bared witness to what is one of the most unique collaborations in Egypt. Saleh is set to debut brand new material as part o an upcoming release that rumours are saying refines his fusion of electronic, rock and Arab percussive music even further.

    He’ll be joined on the night by another act debuting new music, Coke Machine. Returning after a hiatus to perform at Cairo Jazz Club for the very first time, Zeina Aly and Kamal Tabikha are no rookies. Formed way back when 2013, the dream-punk duo have cited 80’s post-punk as their biggest influence, but they’ve made it their own in what they call ‘sad music’. The twosome’s return to the gigging scene coincides with a new LP which is set to be released towards the end of the year – so expecting to hear more from Coke Machine in the next few months.

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    The first Tuesday starts CJC’s impressive alternative bookings as they mean to go on, because the week after on Tuesday 14, heavy-hitters, PanSTARRS, take to the stage. For fans of alternative music in Egypt, this is a band that needs no introduction. The band, which started off as a bedroom project by founder, Youssef Abuzaid, has come a long way since the release of debut LP, Nothingness, in 2013. But having recruited the likes of Nader Ahmed, Hazem Shamy and Karim El Ghazoly over the years for following releases and performances, the PanSTARRS sound has evolved into a whole new beast that touches on elements of dream pop, shoegaze rock and psychedelia to make PanSTARRS one of the truly unique and original bands in the country.

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    On Tuesday 21, CJC hosts one of several debuts in the month of November, with 23 year-old producer, guitarist and sound designer, George A. Farid, aka Latēfall (pictured left).

    Although an unknown quantity to most right now, Farid’s unique atmospheric, almost cinematic electronic tracks made people stand up and take notice.

    Equal parts haunting and beautiful, it’ll be interesting to see what he brings to the CJC stage on a night that he will be DJing live using…wait for it…cassette tapes.

    He’ll be in good company for the night, too, with another of Egypt’s most established alternative acts, Machine Eat Man – aka Mohamed Ragab, the man who coined the term and sound, ‘Egyptronica’. Having honed his craft for over 20 years, Ragab’s impact here and abroad has been impressive to say the least and though he often talks down the complexity of his music, his use of drum machines, synthesisers and Eastern samples and sounds under the cloak of experimental, has seen him snapped up by two labels in the states and he stands still one of the most influential musicians of his kind to come out of the country.

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    The month wraps up on Tuesday 28th meanwhile, with a duo who has been teasing new music recently, The Meteors Project. Fusing inspirations from everything from rock and trip-hop, to neoclassical and techno, Gaser El Safty and Karim El Zanfally stand as one of the most unique acts to emerge out of Egypt in the last few years. With two releases under their collective belt, The Meteors Project’s stock continues to rise.

    The night will bear witness to yet another CJC debut, though, with percussionist, beatboxer and DJ, FrogMoose, set to also perform. Another unknown quantity to most, 2017 has seen FrogMoose perform a handful of big events, but as has been the case so many times over the years, his CJC gig is his biggest yet and will certainly put him on the map. We all know the CJC crowd loves a bit of funk and FrogMoose’s rock and funk set will certainly oblige – but maybe not in the way you think.

    For more information on Alternative Tuesdays and the rest of Cairo Jazz Club’s events this month, click here.
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    By Kalam El Qahaira

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