Omar Khorshid – Giant + Guitar LP


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2024 restock. Wewantsounds reissue Omar Khorshid’s highly sought-after instrumental album Giant + Guitar originally released in 1974 in Lebanon and recorded at Polysound Studio by famed Lebanese engineer Nabil Moumtaz. The album features Khorshid’s unique electric guitar sound mixed with Arabic melodies over superb psych arrangements. Omar Khorshid’s life, if short (he died age 36 in a road accident), was extraordinary. Blessed with a great talent for music, the Egyptian musician and actor became one of the best guitarists of the Arab World accompanying the greatest stars of the ’60s and ’70s, including Oum Kalthoum, Abdel Halim Hafez and Farid El Atrache. To avoid the political troubles of the time in Egypt, and to fulfil his artistic ambitions, Khorshid moved to Beirut in Lebanon in 1973 and started recording a string of superb albums experimenting with oriental music. He recorded for several labels including Voice of Lebanon, one of the key Lebanese labels of the time. He released his first album Giant + Guitar for the label in 1974 and it was an instantly popular in the Arab world. The front cover sees Khorshid on his motorcycle in the busy street of Hamra, one of the most vibrant Beirut neighborhoods where he was playing most nights in residence. (The album was also released internationally as Rhythms from the Orient with a different artwork focusing on belly dance). The sound is both bold and accessible, displaying Khorshid’s unique guitar sound, accompanied by a small band mixing traditional and modern fuzzed-up arrangements. The mesmerizing opening track, “Rakset El Fadaa”, composed by Lebanese musician Nour Al Mallah, is a perfect example of Khorshid’s artistry. Starting with a long, hypnotic guitar intro, it then speeds up with the backing of a groovy organ, Oriental percussion and the psych sound of an early synthesizer to great effect. The album continues on the same mode blending traditional oriental music with inventive arrangements as showcased by the Mohamed Abdel Wahab standard “Leilet Hob” popularized by Oum Kalthoum, which sees Khorshid and his musicians shifting pace several times over eight minutes. One of the peaks of the album in terms of sonic experiments is undoubtedly Korshid’s own composition, “Taqassim Sanat Alfein”, with Khorshid’s superb guitar in full bloom accompanied by a few touches of synth. Wewantsounds’ series of Arabic music reissues are curated by Mario Choueiry from Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Newly remastered; includes original Voice of Lebanon artwork and a two-page insert featuring liner notes by DJ Ernesto Chahoud.