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Global producers get involved as Billboard Arabia’s ‘Sounds of the Land’ project transforms Arab nature into music

DUBAI: Billboard Arabia’s use of Middle Eastern topography to create sound samples for music has engaged a new generation of producers and songwriters in the region.

The media platform — which covers music, culture and entertainment — launched the “Sounds of the Land” project in March and since then, producers from across the world have used samples from the initiative in their tracks.

A team of scientists and sound engineers transformed the topography of various areas in the Middle East into sound samples that were then made available to musicians across the world.

They analyzed maps and used topographic techniques to extract data from five different areas in Middle East and North Africa region, including Saudi Arabia’s AlUla.

“While doing some research we realized that the microscopic images of the vinyl record grooves resemble the same imagery of our wadis and valleys, so the thought was, can we listen to nature’s grooves?” Rami Zeidan, managing director of Billboard Arabia, told Arab News.

Rami Zeidan is the managing director of Billboard Arabia. (Supplied)

“At first, we were unsure if it would even be possible,” he said. “By combining cutting-edge technologies, such as satellite imaging and topographic data, alongside analog gear, like synthesizers and mixers, we were able to cut the vinyl with the exact same shape as the valley we had been scanning, and, as a result, mirroring nature on the vinyl and creating the sound of the land,” he added.

“Sounds of the Land” features 20 sound samples including some from Saudi Arabia’s AlUla, Jordan’s Tafilah, Morocco’s Tinghir, Lebanon’s Kadisha Valley and Egypt’s Luxor.

Billboard Arabia aims to have the sound samples of the landscapes featured and credited in future chart-topping hits.

“So far, in less than 10 days, we already have more than 90 producers participating, and a strategic global partner, Gamma, who will be releasing an official music album using the sounds we extracted from the lands around MENA,” Zeidan said, adding: “Many of the producers are from Europe, Africa and the Americas. This also shows a signal of introducing our culture to the world through our sounds and our lands.

“Sounds of the Land” features 20 sound samples including some from Saudi Arabia’s AlUla, Jordan’s Tafilah, Morocco’s Tinghir, Lebanon’s Kadisha Valley and Egypt’s Luxor. (Supplied)

“We wanted to link the work of producers and sound engineers beyond the traditional instrument, and create a concept that would excite the community and make them come together over something creative, yet representative of their culture,” Zeidan said.

During the creation process, Zeidan said that the team “discovered so much talent” in the region, from producers to songwriters and sound engineers.

“With this initiative, we hope to create a destination where the music community is engaged, where artists discover each other and collaborate, where musicians from different regions come together to create amazing fusion from North Africa and the Gulf, Egypt and Levant and maybe global, too,” he said.

“Creativity is contagious, and we really hope to build an environment that inspires labels, artists, producers and sound engineers to further amplify and grow our music genre to becoming the global sound we all aspire it to be, just like K-pop, Latin, Afro music and more,” Zeidan added.

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