I had been searching for something new in music for a very long time. Totally disenchanted with everything I was reading about in the music magazines, nothing I was listening to was exciting, innovative or moved me emotionally or spiritually. Then quite by accident I discovered Eivind Aarset, the innovative gifted Norwegian guitarist. This one artist then led me to find a whole new world of incredible music and musicians. These include Dhafer Youssef, Jon Hassell, Arve Henriksen, Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Movaer, Jan Bang and the list goes on.
The New Jazz movement coming from Northern Europe is simply astounding and one that the western world needs to find out about. I now own all of Eivind and Dhafer's CDs. The collaborative works of Dhafer and Eivind have sparked a new joy in listening to music that I haven't felt for years. This is a partnership made in heaven, and it was destined that their paths cross. Their cultural diversity, virtuosity and individual influences creates music that is breathtaking, ethereal and unique. It is hard to describe this music which is complex, combines ultra-modern and traditional recording techniques and yet is organic and full of groove and feeling. Something sadly lacking in most of the fusion styles I once listened to. Dhafer loves odd meters, yet somehow they swing so you don't even realise it's in 13/8 or some combination of wonderfully wacky time signatures. This is not something that is planned just to be clever, it is just the way the music is. He is simply the conduit who is bringing this music to life. The musicians on this album bring all their collective talent and energy to the mix, clarinetist Husnu Senlendirici and Aytac Dogan on kanun in particular. Credit is also to be given to Lars Nilsson responsible for capturing it all in the recording process. Dhafer's Oud playing is simply phenominal as are all the performances on this album and any of his other works.
Birds Requiem is the ultimate in combining Eastern and Western styles. It should be listened to as a complete piece of music in one sitting, preferably in the dark with good headphones! It will take you on an incredible magical journey through time and space, moods, styles and emotions. As someone brought up in western culture listening to rock, jazz and fusion styles it can take a while to really appreciate all the subtleties and musical elements this music has to offer and will require that you participate as listener. This is one of the most amazing pieces of music you will ever hear.
An absolute masterpiece!