In interviews Natacha Atlas has been quoted as saying "Foretold..." was a bit like New Age music. This made me a little apprehensive, I have no wish to hear my favourite artist turn out sugary muzak. However - breathing a sigh of relief - this new album is certainly no easy-listening exercise. In fact, this is an album to drive the casual listener screaming out of the room. The New Age monicker is only justified insofar as the album is heavy on atmosphere and ambience, rather than tunes as such. One obvious reference would be the solo albums of Lisa Gerrard (ex Dead Can Dance). I liked it immediately, but as with all Atlas albums it is, in my experience anyway, a slow grower. I can't say that I am completely familiar with it even now after several listenings, but I like it immensely. It is bound to disappoint many of her fans, and I would advise potential buyers to have a listen before shelling out your hard-earned money. OTOH, here we have an artist with a growing following who suddenly changes course in midstream and releases a decidedly non-commercial album. How many artists can this be said of? Forgive me for sounding gushing, but I admire Ms. Atlas so much. Her solo albums, and more recently the albums of Transglobal Underground, have blown me away. They are so original and yet so familiar in that they appeal to a wide range of emotions, even if they draw on traditions foreign to Western ears. There is so much to discover in this music. Give "Foretold..." a chance. The rewards are worth it provided you have the patience for 73 minutes of music with hardly a beat in sight. PS - what is the idea behind the "spoof" ending that comes after a few minutes of silence (a bit like on the Stone Roses' awful "Second Coming"?). A man talking in mock German accent about "confiscat[ing] your artwork and zen ve vill shoot ze entire village" and then breaking up laughing??? Probably to deflate the pomposity (not in a negative sense) of it all and bring us safely back to Earth, I guess?