Ambient, ethereal and somniferous to the point of meditative self-engrossment, Foretold in the Language of Dreams
is a welcome but unforeseen deviation in the fascinating career-curve of polycentric Anglo-Asian dance-pop diva (and belly dancer) Natacha Atlas.
Bearing little resemblance to either the ethno-trance world beats of her work with Transglobal Underground or the Middle Eastern pop of her subsequent solo offerings, this album--a collaboration with the Marc Eagleton Project and featuring Greek band Avaton, renowned Syrian qanun player Abdullah Chhadeh and Britain's zither virtuoso Andrew Cronshaw, among others--represents a more progressive direction: an arid, illusory, impressionistic Arabian sound tapestry partially inspired by Sufi and the writings of Armenian-born philosopher and mystic George Gurdjieff.
While any listener may presume too far by attempting to draw any conclusions from this album--who are we to encroach on somebody else's self-assessment?--it wouldn't be too belittling to admire Foretold in the Language of Dreams purely for its exotic flight-of-fancy alone, an enticingly mysterious Eastern antidote to incessantly drizzly British afternoons. --Kevin Maidment