30 November 2011

Bokra - Tomorrow

It's been a good 3 weeks since this project was released to the world. I don't think anyone even remembers it anymore.




Click here if you can't see the video

Wow, 24 leading Arab superstars on one collaboration. Akon and Shakira also collaborating on the track. Quincy Jones. Backing by some of the biggest names in the region, including names from the Qatar Govt, Dubai Media City, Sony Music, and a ton more. An initiative to raise money and funds to support talent and content from this region. What a load of crap that final product came out to be.

Now don't get me wrong. Concept wise, this whole thing was AMAZING. Just the sound of it and the potential it had to be was beautiful. I heard about it from some reps at one of the major music labels a few weeks before it came out, and figured this would be something that would blow everyone away. It would talk from the Arab world not just back to the Arab World, but to the whole World.

Sadly, so far I haven't heard anything positive about it. I caught a glimpse of it on MBC a couple of weeks ago, and thought to myself, that was IT? All that talent, all that positive energy, went into that? Again, don't get me wrong; i'm not a hater. I love to see these sort of initiatives, anything that can propel our region to another level on the global playing field. Having all those superstars on one track is an amazing feat. Quincy Jones alone is more than just a legend. The message was strong and clear, to come together to bring a better tomorrow. The production levels put into this were obviously world class. But somewhere along the line, the potential collapsed.

I don't know how to start with where things went wrong; is it with the very standard melody and beat? Sure it has different tunes from different Arabic styles & instruments every now and then, but that was hardly something on the level of a legend such as Quincy. And the lyrics? Average to say the least. It doesn't really speak to me, or to the Arab world. FINE. Let's say the music wasn't great, they should back it up with an amazing video that speaks to the people, right? Wrong. The video is just a few seconds of each artist in the recording studio, and a bunch of children running around various places in Doha. There are a few joyous moments, but those are limited in seconds.

Also, the Akon part just stands out, in a funny way. I know you wanted to add another major superstar here, but it just looks out of place. The Shakira intro I can understand, maybe he should have put in his own intro instead?

If the video was meant to speak to the people, then it would show something the average viewer would relate to; maybe peoples faces from around the region. It could show some happy, some sad, some in pain, some working for a better tomorrow. Maybe some of the scenes of the events of the past few months; not necessarily the violent and painful parts, maybe just showing people from all over, gathering together in unity. Your average person from the street can't really relate to a number of superstars dancing around in a studio. Let me not even comment on the errors in the video where the singing isn't properly synced with the audio (sure, it happens in many videos, but at that level of production, it's unacceptable).

I understand the video is trying to stay away from the politics, which is understandable. But again, Tamer Hosni? I'm sorry, but you just alienated 80 million Egyptians who were anti-Mubarak by featuring him in the track; did we all forget what happened back in Febraury? Egypt alone has 3 million (or so it feels like) musicians, was this really the best choice? Who made the decision on artists again?

And finally, the PR for the whole track, trying to hype it up. The headline message wasn't "A track pushing for a better tomorrow in the Arab World" or "A song calling for unity and togetherness". Nope. The headlines were almost always "24 MAJOR ARAB SUPERSTARS ALONG WITH QUINCY JONES AND AKON ON ONE TRACK". That's just a mirror of the whole crumpling music industry nowadays. They're trying to sell you the hype you don't want. I love Qunicy and his art, I have a ton of respect for most of the artists on the track (especially Kadhem Alsaher, dude is all class, even here he still shines as probably the best performer). But you won't get me hyped up on a track just because they're all on it. It's the digital age, the music is everywhere, the videos are everywhere, and the average person can get them any time. People aren't even watching the VMA's and EMA's even though there's a million and one celebrities on. You can't hype a track by saying so and so is on it. You have to make a song move emotions in people. You have to make good music, you have to make a great video. That's what the 'old-school' music industry doesn't understand, you can't sell hype anymore. If people want hype, they'll visit the YouTube channel, and no one ends up buying your music (explains 2 million hits on the video today and probably hardly anything sold).

I honestly have no idea what the actual message for this is. What is it meant to be; re-unite after the revolutions around the Arab world? Come together and build? Everybody calm down after what we've all been through? I'm not even sure. There's no real clear message.

The track makes me reminisce to 'Arab Dream' (الحلم العربي). That was done in the 90's; video is hardly of the greatest quality, editing is far from great, but that video and song can bring tears to your eyes. It still has the footage of performers in the studio, it still has that all-star ensemble, but the emotion comes through, it doesn't appear cocky, and it talks about our pain and struggles, the wars we've been exposed to that are still fresh in memory, and our dream to unite & move forward. Besides the studio shots, the video is powerful, and includes footage taken in the 80's and early 90's. We're in 2011; the amount of footage out there is astounding, it shouldn't be difficult to find something that speaks to people and doesn't trip over the politics. I would buy this track 10 times over just for what it is, and wouldn't even consider putting a cent towards the Bokra track.




Click here if you cannot see the video

Just another point; they're selling this track on iTunes? Whereas iTunes isn't officially available for more than half of the Arab countries (unless they have a US, European or credit card from a verified country)? Even if people did want to buy the track, you're not making it easy for them. Well done. Clap clap.

I really wanted this to make an impact, if anything, the Arab world needs something to push them forward through the multiple crises. We need to know there is hope and that everything will be fine. For all I can see, Bokra hasn't come close to achieving this, and it's a little depressing to be honest. Music was the way to speak to the masses, and with the way the industry is headed nowadays I don't know what it can achieve any more.

Go to www.TomorrowBokra.org for the track website, video, initiative etc.



(I know i'm probably going to get a wave of hate for not being supportive of the cause and so on. I actually went out and bought the track, not for the song itself but in support of the cause only. I know it was a good-willed initiative, but the whole thing was badly managed & executed, and on that grand level, is a total failure).

18 November 2011

Who Sain

Just finished filming and editing this music video - Sain is an Emirati rapper who just burst onto the scene; we tried to do a little something different with this one. Forget the regular girls, cars and money in your average rap videos, this takes you into the mind of someone 'inSain'. We put a few hidden messages in this one, see if you can figure any out. Enjoy.

 

 For more info check out www.OfficialSain.com

Track: Who's Sain, Artist: Sain, Beat By: Megrov, Produced by: Co-Sign 
Video shot & directed by: ammaro productions

21 October 2011

The Reality of the Libyan War

Biggest news today was the death of Gaddafi. I won't ramble on too much about his capture, the irony of how he called his people "rats" and was found hiding in a sewage pipe, or how he went from being one of the most powerful people on the planet to being slapped around and dragged like a rotten nobody minutes before his death.

No. Although today a lot of the world rejoices for Libya, I don't think most of us actually understand what the country has been through. Yes, a war, but the unbelievable images that have sprung up over the past few months tell a story of something incredibly scary. The majority of us have never experienced an actual war, and even if so, mostly on the 'lighter' side of things.

I've put together a series of shocking images that have been taken since the uprising started. We've been desensitized to this sort of imagery through movies, TV shows, cartoons and video games, and usually dismiss & forget about them minutes after we see them. Don't glance at them for a second each and scroll to the next; I want you to really look at them. Try and see what's going on there. Try to visualise yourself in those situations. They may look like something out of a 'Book of Eli' or some other post-apocalyptic movie, but remember that what you're looking at here is real, with no director sitting behind the camera shouting "Cut"!

We get too comfortable in our own lives and don't mentally accept what happens on the other side of the TV screen as 'real'. It feels too far away from us. That's usually why not enough support is gained for causes and catastrophes around the world, whether they're to protest against a war in Syria, raise funds to help a famine in Somalia, or any other cause; sure some may gather in protest/a fundraiser and go home thinking they did their part for the day. If we could see that this is all very real, we may think differently.

I didn't add any captions to the photos; they're not necessary, most images explain themselves. Just 'really' look at them (click for large size).

(PS. I didn't take any of these photos, just in case you were wondering, they're from various reporters and sites).

29 August 2011

Elevator Drama


This story is hardly relevant to anything right now, but I just remembered it; happened a good 10 years ago or so. Enjoy.

So I had recently graduated from university and was running around applying for jobs. One of the buildings I went to was about 20 floors high, and one of the companies I was applying to was on the top floor. Went up, all formal with my suit & tie, carrying a bunch of CV's, gave one in, filled out an application form, went back to the lift, and clicked the button for the ground floor.

20..

19...

18....

*DING!*

The lift stopped, doors opened, and two construction workers stepped in. Now I don't really know how to properly describe what these two smelt like; it was a hot summer day (probably around 45 degrees or so - that's around 115 for all you Americans) and it felt like they've been working for the past 8 hours under the burning sun, sweating from every pore, and it was pretty overwhelming. Don't get me wrong; I appreciate the job they do, but goddamn that was a strong stench. It felt like someone took some warm kebabs, covered them in Hummus, left them under the bed for 3 weeks, took them back out and then took a dump on them, then sprinkled them with rotten eggs.

Luckily for me they pressed 16, so I only had to suffer the pain for two floors. It was a long ride till the 16th floor though...


18............

18.......................................................................................................................................................................................

17.......................................................................................................................................................................................

16 *DING!* and they left *HEAVY BREATHING*

Still, the smell was so strong and powerful that it had somehow stuck to the walls of the elevator. The place was still hazardous. Ok no problemo, I can probably hold my breath for another 16 floors.

15...

14...

13...

12...

*DING!*

And there, infront of me, the door opened to reveal the two most gorgeous girls I had ever seen in my life till that point. EVERYTHING about them was perfect, the hair, the eyes, their clothes, it was almost like something out of a movie. This was my lucky day.

They took one step into the lift, and then, apparently hit by the strong chemical waste scent, stopped, stepped back out and held their noses, looked at each other and giggled.

I was mortified; how on earth could I fix this? They obviously thought it was me, but I had to think fast, I had to explain, what do I say, It wasn't me? Some body went into the lift before me? Two construction workers walked in and ended up shadowing the lift with that evil scent? No? How do you even begin explaining this?!

In those few seconds from the girls stepping back out and laughing at me, till the moment the elevator door closed, I realized there was literally nothing I could say to save the situation. I just went quiet, and bowed my head down in shame.

I don't know what brought this memory back to mind, but hey, if you are a girl and remember seeing a (handsome) guy in a lift about 10 years ago, and the lift smelt bad, just know that it wasn't him. Sigh. There's a contact form at the top of this page too *ahem*

22 August 2011

Why guys don't buy clothes.

It's been a while since i've blogged; with Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and the multitude of instant messaging tools, saying anything longer than a sentence and a half is usually overkill. Not today though, since this kind of ticks me off.

Not to sound very stereotypical, but girls in general love to shop for clothes (don't deny it, you know it's true). I won't say every single girl out there does, but for a very big handful, that's pretty true. Clothes, accessories, make up, shoes, bags (I don't understand why so many shoes or bags are needed) etc etc etc, bla bla bla.

Why don't guys (in general) buy as many clothes? I originally thought it was something in the chromosomes that make women just want to go out there and spend, but that's not it. Apparently society 'accustoms' us to not buy clothes. Have you walked into an average clothes shop recently? Have you seen how big the ladies section is as compared to the guys? It's ridiculous. You walk into the store, and it's pretty much all ladies clothes; even if I wanted to buy something, that kind of puts me off. They have 99% of the store and we have around one shelf. In the far corner. Hidden somewhere behind the ladies lingerie section which makes it even more awkward for us.

Anyway, for those of you in Bahrain, remember when City Center first opened a couple of years back? They had a huge H&M store with a sign saying "Opening Soon". Knowing H&M from UK etc, they're great for casual clothing, even for guys. And then they opened. Take a look:


That's a pretty big entrance + window. The shop inside is about three time as long and is much wider than the store-front. This was pretty much my train of thought over the two minutes after walking in:

"This place is big."

"Hmm. Girls clothes. Okay must be a guys section over there."

"Nope, ok maybe in that side."

"Oh wait I think I see it in the back."

"Oh, no, that's just the kids section. Lemme see, over there maybe?"

"Nope."

And just like that, guys were denied the pleasure of shopping at H&M. Don't get me wrong, i'm not an H&M freak or anything, but it would be nice to be given at least one shelf. Anyway..

A few months later, another store in City Center put up a big sign: "H&M Men's Opening Soon" and men all over the country rejoiced (well not really, since we don't really care much for shopping, but hey, another shop).

When H&M Men opened, I went over. From the face of it, it was a little disappointing; the entrance of the women's shop alone was about the width of our entrance & display windows combined:


Doesn't matter, at least we HAVE a shop now. Took a walk inside, and the whole thing was approximately one third the size of the women's store. Hmm. Okay won't complain.

A few months later, I walk into H&M Men and realized something looked different. Either men's fashion had become incredibly female-like, or something happened to the store. Then I realized, they decided to shrink the men section to half the store. Yup. Women already have their massive gigantic sized store but that's obviously not enough. They had to take half of ours.

Okay, FINE. We still have a reasonable selection to choose from.

But a few weeks ago, I walked into H&M Men's again. And guess what. ALL the clothes were for women. What? Where's our clothes? Then I realized. Our section was pushed all the way to the back, to occupy about a quarter of the store:


What is this, a joke?

Come on guys, there is obvious discrimination against guys buying clothes. It's not like we don't WANT to buy clothes. It's that even if we did, you make us go through miles and miles of ladies sections to actually reach our tiny little corner. I feel like I want to stand up for my rights. The right to choose whether I want more than 2 colors of the same shirt. More than the same style of jeans. Maybe I should gather up all the guys and start a protest, against all the evil shops that discriminate against us. We do represent half of society, you know. Without us you would be broke. Girls wouldn't need to dress up for us, and then when you're losing business or bankrupt, don't come over to us telling us you're going to make more guys jackets. It's too late then. It's too late.

Ah screw it. I'll just go buy another gadget.

25 July 2011

Arab World Unite

We've been working on this one for quite a while now; 8 different artists from around the Arab world on one track, talking about Arab Unity. It's been one hell of a project to get up and running, and it's all set now - check it out:



(If you're reading this through Facebook the video may not show; click here to go to the video directly)

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"Arab World Unite" is a major call for UNITY.. Featuring Qusai from Saudi, Rush from Egypt, Balti from Tunisia, Ayzee from Saudi, Vico from Lebanon, Flipp from Bahrain, Murder Eyez from Syria, Timz from Iraq & Talal from Palestine.

Track produced by DJ Outlaw in collaboration with 2seas Records
Mixed and Mastered by: Adrian Augustin
Video Edited by: Ammaro Productions - www.ammaro.com
Colour Correction by: Frankie N. Films

Big Thanks goes to:

Universal Legends, Jeddah Fam, Run Junction, Hatem Abu Sitta, Ron Najor, Alvin Shamoun, Samir Cuhtait, Militia Mind Music, Mohammed Mohsen, Magdy Sharshafji, Big Change Recordz, Go Productions, Infinity ways, Shams.K, Ilyes.S

And whoever helped making this project a success.

Click here to download the MP3

11 May 2011

Updates n Stuff

I know it's been pretty quiet around here. I've been working working on a full website re-design which should be up pretty soon, a few projects which should see the lights pretty soon, and a bunch of new video work (short movies, music videos) which should be pretty wild. For now you can keep up with my random blabber on Twitter. Stay tuned!

19 March 2011

Super Moon

So apparently the moon tonight is closer to earth and brighter than it has been in 18 years. Took some photos; whoa, that's a big moon (click for large size).


Let's hope it brings hope and peace for the whole world. Doesn't seem likely given the state of the planet at the moment, but hey, worth a try.

Taken with a Canon 7D and 70-300mm lens, 1/15 at F45, ISO100. For more info on 'Super Moon, click here.

14 March 2011

'Bahrain Unite' Video

Bahrain's been going through a long struggle since the 14th of February 2011; the biggest casualty is the division of the people. As part of the #UniteBH movement, some local Bahraini artists got together to produce a unity track for Bahrain, and we put a short video for it bringing people from all over the island. Doesn't matter if you're Sunni, Shiaa, Christian, Indian, Arab, English, man, woman, boy or girl, whoever you are or wherever you are from, we all make up one Bahrain. Hope this video inspires and helps ease some of the troubles we're all going through:



(Click here for full video link & to view in 720)

A big thank you goes out to all those who helped make this video a reality, and helped us to show the various faces of Bahrain. A great big thank you to all those who supported the cause. Let's not forget why we're doing this, let's all get together and unite Bahrain!


Bahrain Unite
Vocals by: Flipp, May AlQasim, Mohammed Janahi, Rashid Hanthal, Hamad AlFardan
Oud by: Ahmed AlHermi
Bass by: Yasser AlBanna
Track Arranged & Produced by: DJ Outlaw
Mastered by: Adrian Augustin at 2 Seas Studio.
Video Filmed & Directed by: Ammaro Productions
Additional Footage by: Fardan Raffii
Video Editing by: Elements Productions


MP3 Download Link for "Bahrain Unite"

To contact me for broadcast rights or any other info regarding the video, please drop me a message (click the contact/about tab above)


Lyrics الكلمات:

Flipp: This song goes out to every person that truly loves Bahrain, Cause see no matter where you at, This Kingdom needs all of us right now
Let me talk to you..

Bahrain let’s stop this fight and lets unite
Let’s put our hands together let’s make things right
Towards a better future let’s start tonight
No Sini no Shii lets hold tight like red n white
Red like our blood white like our hearts
Let’s have a conversation where we share our thoughts
Let’s begin fixing instead of sitting in our place
Let’s remove that big frown off of our face
See Bahrain the kingdom of pearls and palm trees
Its kind people will carry it with arms and knees
I want to see this place in love and harmony
Let’s begin curing ourselves from this hate disease
Cause I love it and I bet you love it too
Want to make a change and I bet you want it too
Men aldawar lay alFateh lets spread the love
Putting Bahrain on the top and no one above
Listen, This is the time we need to sit together
This Kingdom needs u people more than ever
Let’s put our hands together and start a change
Never never say never for a better Bahrain

Chorus: At the end of the day one fact remains
We need each other to lean on
And after the rain one thing don’t change
Yeah we’re all the same cause
Brothers sisters waving this flag
Its one love, One Nation we stand
We moving on and growing stronger for a better day
Bahrain Unite

Mohd Janahi: كبيره ياالبحرين
مكانها بالعين
كبيره ياالبحرين
مكانها بالعين

Rashid Hanthal:لاشيعيه لا سنيه
وحده وحده بحرينيه
ندعي الله مايفرقنا
مانابيها الطائفيه

Hamad Alfardan: في بدايه الكلام ابي اقول اني بحريني
لاشيعي ولا سني بس مسلم مثبت بديني
يلا اليوم كلنا انحط يدنه بيد بعض وانقول
كلنه اخوان كلنه اهل خلنه اندور حلول
بحرين, عراقه وتاريخ ووفه وامل
كلمه رجال ابكل المعاني بالمجد انلم الشمل
واليوم اشوف الدنيا احسن مافي مثلها اثنين
يعني كلنا نتحد ونحط هاالديره في العين
والي فكر انه يفرق بين اهل البحرين
انقوله مالك امل بحرين ماتحتار بين امرين
شفيد العتاب اللوم والعذاب
كلنه شعب واحد والبركه في هاذي الشباب
راح نفدي هاذي الديره ابروحنه ولا يوم انقصر فيها
ادافع عنها اكل مافيني واكيد ابروحي افديها
هاالديره مااتفرق بين سنه وشيعه ولا طائفيه
كلمن بره يسمعني لازم يسمع هالاغنيه

Chorus x 1

Flipp: Bahrain, All my People
Lets put our hands together
Cause we gon move on together
I wanna know, now if you really love Bahrain
Then clap to this, come on let me hear you clap to this
Now clap to this, Bahrain, lets unite starting tonight

10 February 2011

Crusin' Manama 2011

Got a nice little camera car mount and came up with this. Nothing overly special, literally just a video of a cruise around Manama from day till night around the main hotspots. See what you recognize.



(if you're viewing this from facebook, the video won't show; go to the direct youtube link to watch it)

11 January 2011

The MGM Lion

We've all seen it somewhere or the other; the lion that roars in a ring just before any MGM movie or cartoon. Did you ever think, how did they actually film it? First, a quick view of the lion just to refresh your memory (if you're viewing this post from Facebook it won't show, please click through to the actual post):


And here's a photo I just found of the actual filming back in the 1920's. This is totally badass, and I must say, those two guys have more balls than I ever will. Great stuff:


0_o