Obskura is the professional name of the instrumental rock project by Syrian-American guitarist Luay Rifai and Canada-based multi-instrumentalist producer Tammam Hamza. The two are debuting in 2022 with the release of an ambitious new EP. For the first time ever, they have reinterpreted the iconic classical composition Scheherazade as a progressive rock production.
The original Scheherazade (Opus 35) is a symphonic suite composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1888. Described as a ‘kaleidoscope of fairy tales’, the piece is inspired by and named for a primary female character in the One Thousand and One Nights, a legendary collection of Middle Eastern folk tales. Although originally written for a full symphony, Obskura have reimagined the piece as an epic rock adventure.
By day Luay Rifai is a cardiologist, born in Syria and now based in Chicago, Illinois. When not saving lives, he shreds. Inspired by metal masters like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, Luay rips virtuosic rock riffs and classical melodies at breakneck speeds. Tammam Hamza is a cinematographer in Canada who first proposed the Scheherazade idea to Luay. The two spent years transcribing and arranging the piece. Although the original Scheherazade was performed in four movements, Obskura took some poetic license and organized the EP into six tracks.
Scheherazade by Obskura was released worldwide via all major streaming services on September 22, 2022. The record opens with the high octane metal power and melodic complexity of “The Homicidal King”. The double-kick drum thunder, power chord crunch and layers of harmonized lighting-fast 6-string virtuosity continue on the adventurous “Soul Thirst for Voyage.” “Zummurrud of Samarkand” follows, and introduces introduces a mix of traditional middle eatern melodies delivers with a touch of the blues.
“Adagio: The Young Prince and Princess” opens on a quiet note as acoustic guitars and percussive synth arpeggios paint a lush soundscape. As the track progresses the sound transforms into an epic metal power ballad. “Shipwreck on a Rock ” shifts gears once again with an intense, Panter-style groove metal rocker. “Promises at Dawn ” closes the set with the slow churn and massive metal power.
Check out Scheherazade in its entirety below, or listen on your favorite streaming service. You can also hear the track “Adagio: The Young Prince and Princess” on the Deep Indie Chill playlist. Follow the links below to connect with Obskura., Get on their social s and get in the loop on all of the music to come from this deeply talented team.