Youssef Abouzeid's latest release is pricking up the ears of Indie, Electronic and underground music fans across the capital. Eihab Boraie gives Yestoday a listen...
In a musical scene that is filled with DJs playing typical House music, it becomes easy to neglect the few who are trying to being original and creative with sounds. Enter PanSTARRS, not the comet that threatened earth in 2012, but the musical brainchild of Youssef Abouzeid, that might as well have fallen from the sky with full force, impacting the musical landscape with the new EP Yestoday.
The first time I listened to the album, I was surprised as it remind me of many sounds I have heard abroad, but never here in Egypt. The album plays on a mixture of Noise Rock and Dream Pop. The backdrop of many of the tracks feature distorted guitars and driving bass lines that make it seem like the production is off, but it isn't. The lo-fi quality is intended and actually done very well, but might be strange for those who have never heard anything like it. It is reminiscent of the visceral sounds made popular by the likes of Sonic Youth, Deer Hunter and The Walkmen.
Yestoday’s sound is so full of layers and sonic textures it is hard to believe that it is a “bedroom project” – as Abouzeid describes it – and not that of an established band working together. “I only have a producer [ZULI], a ninja, a mentor, and a Swiss-army knife in Nader Ahmed [who recorded and mixed the record],” explains Abouzeid of the efforts that went into create the EP. When it comes to trying to pinpoint the sound with words, it becomes difficult to convey for outsiders who have no experience with the genre. Abouzeid describes his music as being “honest” and himself as “a proud, sloppy guitar player.”
Luckily, what some might see as flaws make for a unique style and the EP is solid all the way through. Highlights include the exceptional Pink Trees, the sonically dreamy In Bed, and the beautifully composed Off Love. After a few listens it will become clear to anyone that this is a creative and well thought out record that hopefully will find musical success. If PanSTARRS’ music does become financially successful, however, you might want to watch out. Abouzeid claims the first thing he would buy is a “gold plated sniper gun, get on top of Cairo Tower and headshot the American consular who denied my Visa.” Obviously there is a bit of a resentment there but who knows – this may have helped shape his reverberated sound. It’s early days for underground and Indie music in Egypt, as Abouzeid reiterates: “The music scene is picking up. It still sucks obviously, but it is picking up.” This is sentiment I sometimes share but, with offerings like Yestoday, it is easy to see that scene is diversifying and that always makes for better musical landscape.