on 24 May 2007
I read a review of this in Acoustic Guitar magazine and was intrigued enough to buy the CD. I found myself listening to it again and again, having it on whilst doing other stuff around the house, or sat in the office tip-tapping away on my PC. There is something enchanting about the music and it instils a sense of calm. The sound of the accordion is wonderful and the fusion of oud, accordion and piano is sublime.
To some extent, the music seems non-descript, and I don't mean that in a bad way. Like dissecting a work of 19th century Russian literature (which I had to do at university - ugh!), it seems to detract from the overall feel if one tries to describe the album. Better just to sit back and listen to it and let it evoke the images that will surely flow.
I am a musician myself (I play steel-string acoustic guitar) and am versed in the basics of western music theory. Perhaps that goes some way to explaining why I like this CD so much; it seems to go against the familiar structure of western music and so takes me somewhere that I've never been before. But at the end of the day, the "why" doesn't really matter at all.
It brings to mind the work of Yann Tiersen, particularly the soundtrack to Amélie. It also makes me think a little of some of Pierre Bensusan's compositions for acoustic guitar, which is perhaps why the review was in an acoustic guitar magazine.
It would be a perfect CD to listen to whilst sitting on a train watching the scenery pass by.
Definitely one of my CDs of the year!
on 9 March 2011
Besides his collaborations with musicians from the Middle East/Turkey (Astrakan Café, The Astounding Eyes of Rita, Conte de l`incroyable amour and Barzakh), Brahem teamed up with western musicians. Le voyage de Sahar and Le pas du chat noir have him playing with pianist Francois Couturier and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier (for goodness sake, where else but ECM would you find an oud player, pianist and accordionist playing together - and making it work? What a label). These two albums are quieter than Brahem's other works and are not as immediately accessible (or exotic), but superb nonetheless.
Anouar Brahem is one of the best-selling artists on ECM, a record label that over the decades has pushed the boundaries of jazz and world-fusion - and provided great music in the process. To me, Brahem is the epitome of all the label represents. His nine or so albums with ECM, beginning with Barzakh in 1990, offer sublime music found nowhere else. The exotic images he draws with his intricate oud playing is always beautifully recorded and his musical collaborations are always fascinating. Lovely stuff.