The Monday Media Diet with Bana Haffar

On synthesizers, Lebanon, and Jodorowsky

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Bana Haffar (BH) was introduced by some of my oldest friends when I was asking around for interesting folks. She’s an electronic musician, field recordist, and bass player. She recently got back from Lebanon and filed this very interesting MMD. Have a great week. -Colin (CJN)

Tell us about yourself.

A meandering sound worker whose output ranges from releasing and performing music made with modular synthesizerssound design, beta testing, field recording, composing graphic scoresbuilding community around synthesis and experimental music, and hosting a monthly radio show on dublab.  

Describe your media diet. 

For obvious reasons, music is the main portion of my media diet. I spend a lot of time perusing Bandcamp and obscure Soundcloud pages. Music is closely followed by a steady influx of articles sent to me by friends; everything from neuroscience findings to poetry, political analysis to academic research, and bizarre in-betweens. I usually pluck the ones of interest out of my email, save them on my desktop in a “to read” folder, and get to them in the evenings or on weekends. I like having media-related ongoing exchanges with friends to reflect on articles together. 

…and podcasts, my current favorites are:

More or Less: Behind the Stats – really puts into perspective the barrage of numbers thrown at us by the media and succinctly explains why they’re BS

How to Survive the End of the World – relevant and comforting reflections of the complex times we’re living through

Desert Oracle – creepy comedic meanderings through California’s high desert. Highly recommended late-night listening.

What’s the last great book you read?

The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun by Martin Prechtel. A magically woven indigenous fairytale designed to expand the calcified adult mind and remind us of our watery souls. 

What are you reading now?

A tad embarrassed to share that I’m reading The Artist’s Way, again. It’s a somewhat self-indulgent 90’s self-help book that I revisit every couple of years to help release dense accumulated energies that inhibit the creative process.  

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?

I can’t say that I have a favorite publication in print form anymore. I recently canceled a bunch of magazine subscriptions because I found myself craving a more varied diet in terms of format and subject. Getting the same print publication in the mail every month or quarterly isn’t my thing. 

Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?

Poetry! 

The Poetry Foundation’s email list is an easy way to incorporate a bit of poetry into your day.

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone? 

I have a pretty utilitarian connection to my phone, so fun aside, Scanner Pro is probably the app I use the most. It’s the best scanner app I’ve found. 

Plane or train?

Both. Any form of movement and travel is equally exciting to me. 

(Although my real answer is astral projection)

What is one place everyone should visit? 

Beirut – painfully beautiful and alive in a state of constant collapse and rebirth, simultaneously. There’s nothing like it. 

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into. 

I spent the second half of 2020 in a Jodorowsky miasma. It started with Santa Sangre then El Topo… The Holy Mountain, and continued until I had watched almost every single Jodorowsky film I could find. When I ran out of films I read his (ridiculous) autobiography, truly the writings of a megalomaniac, I was mesmerized by the absurdity of his stories and didn’t care if they were real or not. 

The madness of Jodorowsky’s world somehow lifted the heaviness of the pandemic by drawing out my imagination to uncomfortable unexplored edges. 

I’m grateful for the experience and have thankfully moved on! (BH)

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Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Bana

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