Charif Megarbane – Marzipan

Charif Megarbane distills kaleidoscopic influences in Marzipan with an expert hand, while maintaining his characteristic DIY spontaneity

Album Review by Anita Bhadani | 27 Jul 2023
  • Charif Megarbane - Marzipan
Album title: Marzipan
Artist: Charif Megarbane
Label: Habibi Funk
Release date: 14 Jul

To state that Lebanese multi-instrumentalist and producer Charif Megarbane is prolific would be an understatement – he's worked on over 100 projects under various monikers, most notably from his one-man project Cosmic Analog Ensemble. His extensive back-catalogue of projects draws on everything from jazz to funk, Middle Eastern psychedelia to hip-hop, Indian sitar to West African. Marzipan is the second album to be released under his name. A self-ascribed ‘cartographic feat’, Megarbane draws from all of these genres and more in a style he calls ‘Lebrary’ – “a vision of Lebanon and Mediterranean expressed through the kaleidoscopic sonics of library music.”

Indeed, you can imagine the album soundtracking the busy city streets of Beirut, frenetic energy pulsating in tracks like Abou Boutros and Souk El Ahad. Elsewhere, laid-back funk and disco ooze through in Yara, while meditative calm and ambient noise nonchalantly interpose tracks A Parking Lot by the Sea and Ya Salam. Cinematic dreamy soundscapes are evoked throughout, each track so wondrously distinct that they piece together worlds unto themselves.

Marzipan is a standout even amidst Megarbane’s teeming back catalogue. Distilling his kaleidoscopic influences into 17 tracks with expert hand, while maintaining his characteristic DIY spontaneity, makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Listen to: A Parking Lot by the Sea, Chataranj, Yara