Thursday 8 October 2015, 8pm

Labyrinths presents: Maurice Louca / John Bence / Sam Shalabi

No Longer Available

Cafe OTO, in collaboration with Thirtythree Thirtythree and Nawa Recordings, bring you the second edition of the 5 part event series entitled 'Labyrinths' or 'Mātāhāt' in Arabic, based in London, Cairo and Beirut over October / November.

Following the release of his critically acclaimed second album Benhayyi Al-Baghbaghan (Salute the Parrot) in November 2014 via Nawa Recordings, and being dubbed by many as nothing less than a game-changer for the region’s independent music scene, Egyptian musician and composer Maurice Louca makes his London debut at Cafe Oto.

“Egyptian music is currently undergoing an energetic renaissance. Maurice Louca’s second solo album taps into this excitement. By opening up to everything around him, he has crafted remarkable music - dense, driven and splashed with colour.” The Wire

Maurice Louca

Inspired by many influences, from psychedelic to Egyptian shaabi, Maurice Louca’s second albumBenhayyi Al-Baghbaghan(Salute the Parrot), released on Nawa Recordings in November 2014, shattered the confines of musical and cultural labelling and was dubbed by many as a game-changer for the region’s bustling independent music scene.


Amidst his collaborations and inconspicuous touring across Europe and the Arab world in the last few years, Louca has sought a richer and much more complex sound.Benhayyi Al-Baghbaghan, the fruit of such intense reinvention and a departure from his first solo albumGarraya, is a work that leaves ample space for fluidity and improvisation, paving the way for unique live renderings.


Louca is an Egyptian musician and composer born in Cairo where he lives and works. As well as being the co-founder of the bands Bikya, Alif and Dwarves of East Agouza, he lends his sound to numerous projects, composing for theatre, film and contemporary art. 

John Bence

Mercurial, elusive and of seemingly limitless imagination, John Bence is rising to the surface.

From a family background rich in classical pedigree and firmly embedded in Bristol’s forward-facing electronic music culture, Bence has pooled a breadth of influence scarcely credible for a composer only entering his second decade, and now he is starting to put his inspiration into live and recorded motion.

As a producer he is already thinking ten steps ahead, often incorporating voice or home recorded percussion into his cyclical technique of scoring, recording, manipulating, re-scoring and re-recording in waves, creating heady, intoxicating ripples of harmony and noise.

An obscure snippet of dubplate drone under a previous moniker was enough for Nicolas Jaar, who instantly approached him about a release on his Other People label. Six months on Disquiet was released, a masterful hybrid of classical and electronic clocking in at a tantalising ten minutes. More, much more, is coming. 

Sam Shalabi

Sam Shalabi is an Egyptian-Canadian composer and improviser living between Montreal, Quebec and Cairo, Egypt. Beginning in punk rock in the late 70s, his work has evolved into a fusion of experimental, modern Arabic Music that incorporates traditional Arabic, shaabi, noise, classical, text, free improvisation and jazz.

He has released 5 solo albums (including 'On Hashish'- a musical mediation on German writer Walter Benjamin, 'Osama', an audio collage on arabophobia in the wake of 9/11 and his most recent 'Music for Arabs '), 5 albums with Shalabi Effect, a free improvisation quartet that bridges western psychedelic music and Arabic Maqams (scales) and 3 albums with Land Of Kush (an experimental 30 member orchestra, for which he composes). He has appeared on over 60 albums and toured Europe, North America and North Africa. 
Recent projects include the release of the 6th Shalabi Effect album, a duo album with Stefan Christoff, two albums on the Italian label Sagittarius with Beirut, Turkish and Egyptian musicians and a tour in the eastern U.S with Alvarius B, playing solo Oud (Arabic Lute). 
He is also releasing a new composition for Oud and electronics on Nashazphone called 'Isis and Osiris' as well as releasing an album with The Dwarves Of East Agouza, a Cairo based trio with Maurice Louca and Alan Bishop while currently working on his 6th solo album.