Take a stroll through Hamra street, and you’re sure to notice one peculiar owl glaring at you from just about every wall. That owl is the logo of Acousmatik System, a local collective of electronic music artists and enthusiasts who for five years held a tight grip on Beirut’s nightlife by organizing events centered around alternative electronic genres, showcasing local and international talents in the process.

However, Acousmatik’s reign would come to an end in 2012, as each member of the crew departed to pursue their own personal ventures, leaving a great gap in the scene they had invigorated for so long. Earlier this month, an announcement many had been waiting for was made: Acousmatik System is returning on December 29 for a pre-launch party for local electronic producer Jad Atoui’s upcoming debut album, Black Sea Series.

(Photo via Facebook)

Acousmatik System first saw life in 2008 as the product of a group of close friends with a shared passion for art, culture, and music. “We wanted a change; we were bored of the routine, of the same Lebanese clubs, the same bars. We wanted to present an alternative to the Lebanese art scene,” says Acousmatik System co-founder Hadi Saleh, 25.

After multiple events, word of Acousmatik’s nocturnal exploits had spread, earning them a devoted following and quickly making them among the major organizers of electronic and experimental music events in the country. “Our logo, the infamous owl, was on every laptop, every car and every wall in the city,” says Saleh.

Acousmatik’s events served as platforms for all kinds of local artists, such as Munma, OkyDoky, RadioKVM, Jad Atoui, Mocques, Osman Arabi, The DnB project and many more, as well as international artists, mainly from major German Berlin-based label Ad Noiseam, who included Igorrr, Niveau Zero, Matta, Broken Note, One Man Nation, C-drik andEnd.user, among others.

In 2012, Acousmatik would host what would be their final event at the time. As part of Irtijal, the annual Lebanese festival dedicated to free improvisation and experimental music, Acousmatik were given their very own night on the program to do with as they pleased; and so they did, taking over Yukunkun for a night of abstract electronica and experimental noise.

After that, the system dissipated. Saleh explains: “It was the time to focus on each of our personal lives. Most of the crew left Beirut and started a new life and a new story.” He continues, “We felt Beirut was limiting our development at some point and we wanted a change for ourselves and our future.”

(Photo via Facebook)

Now, more than a year later, the system will be making its long-awaited return to Beirut to celebrate the impending release of Jad Atoui’s debut album Black Sea Series, with a live show featuring an all-star cast of local producers, some of whom have not graced a Beirut stage in years. The lineup includes: Liliane Chlela, Radio KVM, OkyDoky, and of course, Atoui.

Atoui, 20, started working with Acousmatik System in 2010, contributing both as a member of the crew and a featured artist. Feeling dissatisfied with the graphic design education he had been pursuing here, he moved to New York in August 2012 in order to further his studies in sound production. The move brought with it a whole new approach to his audio work.

Black Sea Series sees the young producer examining the effect of the sounds of nature and the city on the perception of music. Atoui elaborates: “The idea of Black Sea Seriesstarted with simple recordings of waves and stones in Lebanon. So in 2011, I came up with the first track of my series, Black Sea. Then I decided to work on more tracks that suit the concept.”

The completion of the album is a special occasion both for Atoui and his Acousmatik compatriots. “We’ve been waiting for this moment to come, and here he is, ready to launch his album, and we just had to share this moment with our fellow friends in Beirut,” says Saleh. Atoui adds: “Beirut is where everything started for me, so it’s a priority when it comes to performing new material for the first time.”

It is certain that on December 29, the night belongs to Acousmatik System once more, but the future remains vague and uncertain for now, as Saleh states: “We are working on several projects and collaborating with different artists and associations in Europe and around the world. The projects are cooking on a slow fire and everything will be announced in due time.”

Be sure to make it to Yukunkun on December 29 and visit Acousmatik System’s official website and Facebook page .

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