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4.1 out of 5 stars8
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2002
When I heard that Natacha Atlas was basing her new album on Peter Brook's film of Gurdjieff's "Meetings With Remarkable Men" I knew I had to buy it.
I read the sleeve notes before playing, and noted that she wanted to do something "soothing and esoteric". That worried me as I do not believe the two are compatible. On playing I believe I was right. This is not a soothing piece of music, but it is esoteric. The whole album shimmers with the excitement and expectation of spiritual revelation. Gurdjieff used music as a tool to raising consciousness but there are few references in contemporary music. Keith Jarrett's album of Gurdjieff hymns is the major exception, and Robert Fripp's music is heavily influenced by his stay in a Gurdjieff retreat.
Marc Eagleton's influence shines through the production and the use of background sounds enhances the "journey" aspect of the music.
Tracks from this album will be used in countless chill out compilations over the next few years but please buy the album because it only makes sense played from beginning to end, and is a discrete entity. The music and spiritual ecstasy captured by Natacha's voice will seep into your being.
Oh, and by the way, don't be fooled by the false ending to the final track - there is a long pause before the final fragment which suggests triumphantly that the journey had an ending.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2002
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?
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on 28 March 2013
Has years of replayability, bought this several years ago and it still has a prominent place in my listening rotation. Very contemplative and creative.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2005
i bought this album after a friend let me hear one track from it - the final track. i thought it was fantastic. incredible voice which is not tainted by the usual crap beats & horrible synth presets. to my horror the rest of this record is laden with the aforementioned nonsense. there are even sampled vocal cut ups that are frankly disgraceful.these guys just dont do NA justice.NA would be better served working with underground electronica musicians like markus popp & fennesz, etc. its the usual problem when you get a fantastic eastern voice and throw it to hopeless western producers that are intent on giving it the BIG production and in doing so they completely destroy the record to the point that it sounds like some rubbish like enigma.this music should be the most soulful in the world - its really so sad.
if you took all the synths, beats & samples out and only kept in traditional instruments along with the voice this album would be 5 stars.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2002
Ever since I listened to Atlas' 'Love Song' on a Jah Wobble CD couple of years ago, I knew that Atlas will be a talent and ansipration to learn from. Following her work, this latest CD is a culmination of a journey that promises to open up new horizons to Arab Music and culture. This is not anymore a mere degital re-mixing of music, but a new fresh interpretation of many Arab musical themes. Natacha Atlas is single-handedly creating a theater of Voices and Light unseen before on the Arab scene as far as I know. Pure energy materializing into rich colors.
So why 4 out of 5? :-)
The lyrics need to be bolder. That is all!
But definitely this is a CD that belongs on my music shelf to be listened to many many times.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2002
Breathtaking vocals from wonderful Natacha Atlas. Other terrific instrumental playing. The desert ambience shines through, but opens wider to take in other traditions in a seamless, almost stream of consciousness way. The track with Andrew Cronshaw and the icy northern instruments is marvellous. 5 stars for this wouldn't be enough, but what on earth is the "general melarkey" courtesy of Marc Eagleton about? These juvenile interjections really irritate. OK I suppose they are meant to break, or provide a contrast to, the atmosphere, or perhaps punctuate and define the story-book quality of the work, but they just sound juvenile, the sort of comments a teenager might make after his second glass of cider, and drag down this otherwise marvellous piece of work. It implies a casual lack of attention to production detail which is far from the truth. It is actually an excellently produced album. Try to start listening after about a minute and don't bother waiting for the false ending.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2003
I think this is Natacha's 4th album, and it is superb! She has taken a new direction and comes up with what she says she set out to do; to create an eastern - influenced ambient album. It's just beautiful. I would love to see her team up with William Orbit!
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2002
Natacha Atlas has a very haunting arabic voice which is sexy and full of mysticism. It is great to hear her sing in English (check out track 3 Zitherbell). This is a great album with an obvious western fusion element blended in. However it retains the eastern influence of Atlas's music with a much more chilled aura. This is a relaxing album for lounging or simply to relax to on your own.
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