Snakeskin is an album of visionary electronic dream pop, shapeshifting above ambient and industrial undercurrents. It is moody, unsettling, luminous – the culmination of a decade of collaboration and friendship between Lebanese producer/musician/ engineer Fadi Tabbal and singer-songwriter Julia Sabra from Beirut-based indie trio Postcards.
The duo began working on Snakeskin in the aftermath of the August 2020 Beirut port explosion, which killed at least 218 people, injured 7,000, and left over 300,000 people homeless. Indeed, Julia's home was destroyed by the explosion and her partner and bandmate Pascal badly injured. The first song that they wrote together afterwards was 'Roots', which closes out the album and was composed for the Ruptured-curated series The Drone Sessions in the fall of 2020.
Snakeskin utilizes tape loops, synthesizers, vocals, and drum machines, combining Julia’s pop-inspired melodies and choral roots (an echo from her religious upbringing) with Fadi’s affinity for minimalism and musique concrète. The album seamlessly incorporates the melancholy electro-pop of 'All The Birds', the quiet menace of 'In Our Garden' (long-lost treasures, ancient lies / another buried paradise), and the beat-driven 'Signs'.
The title track sums up their frame of mind, beginning as a lullaby and evolving into a glittering tapestry of distortion and feedback. As the artists write, Snakeskin is a product of "the disappearance of life as we know it, and with it the decay of nature and living creatures. There is no rebirth, no renewal. It’s about what it means to feel at home in such a place."
Some tracks were also inspired by events happening in the surrounding region, such as the invasion of Armenia by Azerbaijan and the Palestinian uprising of May 2021 (Sheikh Jarrah) - both events shedding light on relationships to home and land across the wider region.
That such compelling art can emerge from unceasing tragedy may be the ultimate testament to human resilience and the pursuit of freedom and justice.
1. Still Life
2. All The Birds
4. Past Tense
5. In Our Garden
6. One By One