Edward Powell (AUS)
Esthema (US) (2 x)
Karim Baggilli Sextet (B)
Peeni Waali (2 x) (CH,..)
Kulu/Manoeuvres (CH,..)
Möondo (2 x) (SP)
 Secret Chiefs 3 (US)
Yerba Mater (POL)
Tim White & Joe Paulino (US)

Mensch MusicPeeni Waali vs Schildpatt : "Sha" (CH/..,2006)***°

The basic foundations for this record are mostly jazzy improvisations. A small section of musical interconnections are provided by Alan Kushan's santur-improvisations. Besides this, there are always several ethnic world elements (or the appearance of ethnic music instruments mostly, with on at least some track, a voice sample), provided by many guests, of which just some are related with world music, and seemingly also with the world music label Face Records, also based in Switzerland. There are throatvocals from Mongolia on some tracks, and there are other influences noticeable from Persian origin (a Derwish dance with spoken word piece), African, Caribbean (?), and even Swiss Alps !! –mixed with other contexts- (on “Cliché Alpum”), with some intertwining sub-genres (including a Jamaican (?) influence, referring to some sub-genre, sipping into the other improvisations), always fitting with the improvised and rather jazzy (??) approach.  The album sounds as if it is composed as one large improvised (jazz) piece, with a few extra arrangements on it, but is recorded in various places and times. One of the most famous co-operators is Lars Hollmer on accordion, (even if it is only less than a minute long), with a droning improvisation mixed well into the Persian mode of santur and also some didgeridoo of the next track. “Canabeat” has some spoken word fragment of a child when writing something down on a board.

Even when this group is different, in some way they could fit well with their (German) neighbours Embryo, who more often invited ethical musicians to play with their rather “progressive” jazz-rock approach.

PS. I remember having heard and found the first, private, Schildpatt CD release (“Bunju”, 1986), as a long and slow improvisation. This newer, cooperative album however has many more elements, making it a convincing musical journey (from start to finish).

Info :
Label page :
Other review : CD

link to bigger picture of participants
Mensch MusicPeeni Waali : The Eve of... -final version- (CH/..,2000)*°°

The group send me an improved & revised version of this double CD, leaving out some weaker tracks and having replaced them with previous “sequels”, to get the best picture of what this 12 year composition cycle of Peeni Waali was, a story which started in 1991...

The fundament on this record is much more often Jamaican reggae, dub and ska. Not for adventurous reasons, but for pure pleasure and fun, various tracks (not the earliest) are mixed with other cross-cultural interventions and combinations. Some of them I liked more than others. But I think the sessions done with Lee “Scratch” Perry were rather successful. Some combinations are a bit odd, and somewhat humorous. From the first CD I like very much “Colorace” about a guy being black in all of life's conditions, accompanied with a tango-like bandeon, flute, piano, guitars, children voices and so on. Another favourite is “More Nice Time”, starting with African melodic percussion mixed with dulcimer, Swiss yodel, and then with a ska brass orchestra, with Swiss accordion, one of the tracks with Lee “Scratch” Perry. From the replaced tracks, “Pub Dub” is an odd combination of an Irish traditional into dub, while “Sleep Dub” is another, slow dub track with Mongolian throat vocals (!), while “SkaRab”, performed with Middle eastern keyboards and percussion, and some chill-out beat ideas, mixed with an Arab vocal sample, is my favourite of the three unusual combination tracks (which came from the album “The Dawn”). From the second CD I also liked to mention a few more odd combinations, because that is often my favourite territory. Strange is a dub brass with Hammond organ version from “Satin Doll” (written by Duke Ellington). “Maxi Mali” is another worth mentioning track, which seems to be a medley or resume of all the group’s musical interests, with elements of previously done tracks, with a core of heavy funky guitar/fuzz bass, and also with use of some turntable mixes. 

I think this album is more interesting to those with an open mind who like dub/reggae and ska, but who would like to hear some bridges to other styles, without losing the easy going fun the mentioned music genres have.

Audio : "Mongolska", "More Nice Time"
Info on cd :
Track info on first version :
Other review : related album

Mensch MusicFizzé/Dizzi : Kulu / Manoeuvres (CH/..,1980-1985/1987;comp.1996)****'

I’m glad I received the opportunity to hear this compilation of earlier work of the musicians involved with previous group/project, Peeni Waali. This is a compilation of two LP’s. The first album, “Kulu Hathan Mannua” (1980-1985) is published under the name of Fizzé, the second album is called “Manoeuvres d’automne” (=French for “harvest movements”) is by Gilles-V.”Dizzi” Rieder, while most tracks are listed as being composed by Fizzé. 

The first project is pretty close to the best potential I noticed with Peeni Waali, namely a great ability to make an original form of jazzy World fusion. I already mentioned there the great German progressive jazzrock group Embryo who often dealt with world fusion mixes. This was less often with African influences, compared to the first album in this compilation. This jazzy world fusion album sounds injected with African & North-African jazzy elements but without really belonging to any area, with improvisations that are clearly led by a clever percussionist, who skilfully played very colourful rhythms with ever changing material, which often sounds as if played by African instruments, but which is not always the case. Also kitchen material is used for instance, like a milkpot, and even when with more than once with a more experimental approach; also this is played with the energy of an “African” percussionist (: very colourful). Just here and there, voices are mixed in, like on “Animist” which uses a voice of a strange throat singer with personal qualities, which in combination with bass and sounds, percussion makes its own expressive experimental darkness. Besides that, lots of other exotic instruments appear. Some tracks therefore seem to be real perfect examples of what I called the all-world music approach. “Melody Mensch” for instance, sounds like a Chinese Orchestra, the medieval folk instrument, hurdy-gurdies, thumbpiano, and the Persian santur and a lot more, mix lots of worlds really perfectly. 

The two projects melt in each other perfectly. The second project fits best with the experimental side of the front cover (the African mask refers to the first part). This project, partly percussion based, but also with colourful keyboards and world music instruments, sampled or not ? are also mixed with much more experimental sounds, and nature (animals, water sound rituals,..) sounds. The result is like one big soundtrack presenting a mind-state stage and theatre, brooding, relaxing, fusing, .. It has moments of a ritual with immediate result (pow-wow, ..). “La Mirte Guette” is a bit different but still very good track, with spoken word (in French), darker, and more progressive, and also aggressive, in a very constructive way, followed by quality jazz sax bringing the listener back into the fusing world. Most last few tracks have more direct Afro elements, have voices of Taj MahalLinto Kwesi Johnson, and Lee “Scratch” Perry, with the jazz element never too far. One of these tracks was the already mentioned brilliant bonus track on the CD “the eve” (see above review), “colorrace”, a splendid powerful statement with simple words. A highly recommended, limited edition release which I hope will be re-released elsewhere.

Info :
Info on Fizzé :
French page :
German review : and intro

privateYerba Mater -digipack-(POL,2002-2003)****'

Someone on the net suggested me I should definitely check this Polish group, and I am glad I did. 

The group seems to mix a new range of taught traditions, which makes a combination, from what I can recall, of  at least Indian, Persian, European Medieval times, and Tuvan traditions, well mixed. 

After a meditative intro, “Sephka”, for instance, is a powerful, energetic almost folk-rock track, with an Indian / Persian / European Medieval times mix of rhythmical-fastness in the composition, with simpler tabla compared to Indian traditions, with chamber-like arrangements, and with Polish deep inland flute. The track increases its energy just like a fire dance. “Ravi z Wetliny” after this reminds me a bit of some of the late ‘80s, early ‘90s Kwartet Jorgi works I have: the tabla rhythms are equally closely accompanied by rhythmic acoustic guitar themes, while high toned exotic flutes and also violin ? improvise along this rhythmic drive, like an improvisation that could be repeated and improvised upon, into eternity. A new intro, “Raga Praga” drones a combination of didgeridoo with Tuvan overtone singing, and performs a kind of World folk chamber music dance, with use of hurdy gurdy, jew’s harp, tabla, double bass, a Tuvan song I guess. Making combinations of Persian modes, percussion and oud mixed with hurdy-gurdy, or with tampura and even sitar are rather unusual, but combine perfectly. On “Dla Yerbusa” also the double bass improvises along with the oud in a way like in India percussion, sitar and tabla makes musical conversations, a track like a compact raga. This double bass comes in more often, and is especially rewarding and wild, in combination with oud and flute on “Kulawy Mazur”. The last bonus track tends to be a more (Middleeastern) rhythmic exploitation in a DJ mix, but has enough surprising elements to be rewarding in its own way, ending once more with its acoustic core, on an acoustic rhythmic drive, just like it appeared somewhat earlier before. Highly recommended listen.

Bart Pawyga : cello, kemanche, sarangi, sigit (over-tone singing ); Maciek "Cierlik" Cierliński : ud, hurdy-gurdy, mouth-harp, slovak fujara, duduk ; Huba Połoniewicz : tabla, bendir, tombak, tamburello ; Seba Wielaedek: turkish and persian ney, hurdy-gurdy, zurna ; Raf Maminski : saz, cura, tanbur,, kargyraa (throat singing ), Anna Mamińska : suka, tampura ; with guests Kasia Staniszewska ; Milenka Machzczynska ; Ted ; Patryk Zakrocki ; Luka Howuj ; Piter Kostarczyk ; Adas Kubacki ; Ryszard Latecki ; which becomes on live recordings : Piotr Dabrowski : udu, bells , cymbals, hard-discs. 

“The name was taken from the yerba mate herb, I think you know that herb, but If you don't, you can read something about it on wikipedia ;). it is important, because they drink a lot of yerba mate :D it gives them that mighty power, I guess ;). At first, there were only three of them: Maciej Cierliński, Bart Pałyga and Rafał Mamiński. They started with some improvisations with appearance and participation of some friends. That was in the first half of the year 2001. In the same year few more members joined them. In 2002 they were seen on many parties and festivals and they started joining stages with many groups. In that time they made their first long play album named "meditation" and signed as yerba mater. The album "meditation" like in the name was mostly with meditative music based on the tradition of Indian music. The next year was the next challenge for the band. They made for example some music for the film "Stara Baśń" soundtrack, and they were co-operating with Krzesimir Dębski, and they started working at a new album. In 2004 the band took part of making Masala Soud System project and some concerts with MSS, and they made materials for their second album named "raga praga". Even though the band marks, that their music comes from the "music neverland" more than from any existing place on earth, they are taking some inspiration from the India, Persian and old European culture. The members of the band are:

Maciej Cierliński - hurdy-gurdy, something called "ud", slovakian pipe
Bart Pałyga - cello, sarangs, kemanchas, aliquote singing
Hubert Połoniewicz - tabla, bendir, zarb
Sebastian Wielądek - ney, kawal, hurdy-gurdy
Rafał Mamiński - saz, baglama, cura, tanbur, throat singing
Anna Mamińska - bilgoraian suka, rebab, tambura
Piotr Dąbrowski - udu, bells, hard disks (what the hell?), cymbals and clappers.
Anna Łopuska - transversal (crossed?)  flute, bansuri
Milena Machczyńska - warm and soft singing
Ryszard Latecki - cornet i whatever else he take in his hands ;)
Kasia Staniszewska - white voice/ white singing” p-orth

Audio : "Ala P.", "Sebkha"(or here or here), "Ravi z Wetliny", "Raga Praga", "Uspavanka", "De lirki", 
"Dla Yerbusia", "Strzes sie Jasiu", "Kulawy Mazur", "W poszukiwaniu zaginionej gaski Balbinki"(or here or here), 
 "Hangra, Hangra, Głodna Bhangra (remix by DJ Praczas)
or on
Info :
Polish descriptions : &

Side project 'Umanee' :

Ventilador Music   Möondo (SP,2003)***'
Ventilador MusicMöondo : Trampa (SP,2005)****

The in Catalonia based group Möondo exists since 2000 and was meant to be an experimental forum open to musicians of all styles, with cooperation by guest musicians but also from other disciplines, for stage performances, like dance and video performances. On their first album the group very much takes over the role of a trance world fusion DJ, with that huge difference they don’t work with samples and records, but play everything themselves, which is a big range of music styles for just one group. There are also some small improvised parts in world music styles as well as jazzfusion rock, and beyond. I could clearly take out elements of trance-world music with smooth rhythmical trance-moods, funky guitars, sitar-trance with tabla and electronic beats, Sufi & Arab singing, small oud and saz tunes improvisations, overtone singing, complex electronic beats, Hindustani singing (devotional and classical), with an Indian part with harmonium too, jazzy Rhodes, an electronic music improvisation, and much more. And “World Wide Funk” brings you from lounge to jazz.

Möondo during their debut was Aniol Casadevall : percussion, Dani Ibanez : sitar, saz, oud, electric guitar and programmed electronica, Jordi Parés: harmonium, bansuri, keyboards, Manel Vega : electric bass and double bass, Marc Vila : drums and percussion, ambience with guests for single tracks : Francesc Sotillos on drums, Hisham : violin, percussions, DJ Soyez : scratching, Sua Dalmau : voice, Jaume Catà : drums. 

As a bonus track a few interactive videos were supposed to be seen (the same ones as on their website), but the links to them didn’t work. Therefore I browsed into the CD to see them separately. The most interesting of them, called “Eshan”, with water flowing and a dancer with that water projected on it (images for a Turkish ? song) halted in the middle of the song, and after some time it even stops playing. Also on internet the file has the same errors. The recording quality of all 4 files is rather bad. The first one is suitable to project on screens on stage, but not much more than this, the other videos have too hard contrasts of random images and evil in the world, which I think has no purpose in seeing them mixed together like this, with amateurish vision. A shame, but it is a lost addition for the CD.

On the second album they bring in even more World music ideas, like on the intro, “Tact’in Tro” which features African percussion and bass. Also new is the beautiful voice of singer Silvia Perez. The first track I heard from the group was with her singing on it, mixed with oud, electronica, percussion and so on (“Nieve & Fuego”), a track which made me wonder how much this band was not a side-project or related to their friends Amarok, because this sounded like a great original world folk-rock with certain progressive ideas to it. The music on this album, even when participating with a DJ who brings in mostly only small effects, sounds  more developed and one step further than with the trance-fusion association and foundation, and now has a more “rock” drive, which I think is absolutely successful. This way, the music sounds also more driven, direct, and played, more like a real adventure. A single trance/jungle dominated track, “Elixir Davida”, occurs at a moment that the music could use this peaceful moment of return, but also this track evolves into something more modern, and another special mix. “Trampa”, before this, is built from middle eastern elements and Persian ? percussion, mixed with bits of DJ mixed in voices, keyboards and improvisations from Silvia Perez, a performance like a belly dance mixed with Indian elements, and was also already slightly trance-associated. “Solo contra” is a new peaceful part of jazzy bass solo with some eliptical piano, continues in a fusion mix on “Sheilala”, a track which consists of Indian and middle eastern styles, jazzy rocking, with extra touches of trance sounds added to it, without the effect being dominant. “Xançoneta” has some sitar-pop/rock in it. The last and longest track is a modern dance mix where electronic beats are adapted with lounge, rock, and a few Middle Eastern tunes as well. Hidden behind this is a small singing saw improvisation with double bass. 

This release had Dani Ibanez on guitar, baglama, oud, sitar, voice, programmed electronica, Jordi Parés: keyboards, bansuri, didgeridoo, xeremies, voice, overtone singing, Manel Vega : bass and double bass, electronic programming, Marc Vila : tabla, conga, darbouka, djembe, other percussion and Angel Abad : drums, Jordi Vidal : DJ, with Silvia Perez vocals, Marc Villa : ambient percussion, darbouka, Tactequeté : ambient percussion, .. 

Shortened curriculum of some of the current members : Dani Ibanez studied modern music at Barcelona Taller de Musics, musical programming, Hindu music at Varanasi (India), Turkish music in Istanbul (Turkey). Jordi Parés studied Hindu music and bansuri at Varanasi, and nay in Istanbul and Damascus (Syria). Bassplayer Manel Vega worked with many projects (also with Jaume Sisa), and is also a member of Trivuc and Les Violines. 
Not listed on the album yet, but now also part of the group and project is Alba Guerrero, who is a flamenco singer and collaborated with various projects between flamenco and World music. He also collaborated in various flamenco dance shows. Also new are dancer Enric Fàbregas, and Rachida Aharrat, an oriental dancer and Fran Janer, artistic director.

PS. Just recently, in 2006, the group collaborated with the Moroccan musician Boughaleb Laarif.

Audio "Möondo" : "Mondoloco", "Prisa Mata
audio "Trampa" : "Nieve & Fuego", "Una Taal Guajira
video on
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Web Of Mimicry Secret Chiefs 3 : path of most resistance 
   -in history and in presence- (US,2007)****°

Secret Chiefs 3 gives the best example what to do with music which belongs to the whole world, and proves can make the best music with it thanks to skilful interpretation. I thought I needed to order two albums instead of one (because the postage remained the same), so I added this one to the order of the latest SC3 release, not expecting it would add so much more to the previous albums, but it does. The first 7 tracks come from albums I already had, but these tracks are also not only most of my favourite tracks ; they are compiled into an even better and more accessible, new compilation. Also two interpretations of the, for western collectors most famous Indian composers, Ananda Shankar and R.D.Burman are included with great interpretations (of which one of both I haven’t heard yet). Also included is a super fast Roman gypsy wedding music track with brass and heavy metal bass (“Ciocarlia”), and an even better version of Middle Eastern/breakbeat heaviness of “Jabalqa/Jabarsa” which replaces the already brilliant version I knew from before. But also some filmic orchestrated tracks (the opener and “owl in daylight”) are included. The bonus tracks are also unknown to me. They reconsidered a Christmas song and two Beach Boys songs including “Good Vibrations”. In some way they are interpreted in a Residents-alike, I-do-what-I-want-with-it versions, but, different to Residents, they didn’t replace it with much alternative seriousness of new ideas or took the material a bit light so that the original happy lightness of them are not replaced with humour but with dark cynicism, something which for me does not compensate enough musically for what they do with it. Never the less if you only want to check out one SC3 album from before the John Zorn album, this is the one you should take.

Audio on &
Homepage :
& with audio & 
Other review :
Ignorant article :
Label entry on

Milas MusicEsthema : Apart from the rest (US,2007)****'

The most amazing thing about Esthema is that all members, despite having mastered whole different styles…(-Turkish born Onur Dilisen on violin is busy finishing his masters degree on violin at Boston Conservatory ; Tery Lemanis on oud/bouzouki graduated for guitar at Berklee College of Music while also having included a study on Bouzouki, Oud, and Byzantine music in Greece as part of the university’s exchange program ; Brazil born Bruno Esrubilsky on drums/percussion experienced a period of touring, teaching and studying throughout Europe, now joined in through Berkeley ; Argentine born Ignacio Long on bass has studied in Brazil, New York, and Boston for Composition and Film Score at Berkeley College of Music ; Andy Milas on guitar has been performing traditional and contemporary Greek music for over a decade throughout New England, but also arranged for Progressive Rock, Greek, New Age, and Jazz musical projects), together they manage to fuse and transform a resume of their skills into one fruitful unity with a more global style, and with each previous style completely adapted into one another. They perform with a sort of jazz-fusion improvised strength, which directs the music with some melodic flows, combined with the skilful rhythmical structures which have always micro rhythms available and subtle separate cooperative layers in them -which sound logical and easy, but which aren’t-, played by mostly cooperative-dialoguing paired or sometimes single instruments. 

The acoustic guitar on its own could easily range from Spanish, Western and Greek flavours reaching out hands to the bouzouki/oud player while adding elements to the other members. The oud/bouzouki takes its own freedom, just a little bit more of a jazz nature in doing so, but with ideas coming forth from Greek and Middle Eastern music. The drums make many micro-rhythms possible, are skilful like jazz, but can handle art-rock, and adds moments of surprises and change with Latin/Cuban rhythms, without ever letting those new moments take over the flow of the melody drives, or the previous basic scale (especially great on “finding my way”). Also the bass player manages to add such Latin swing surprises amongst a more usual jazz-rock drive. The violin player has improvisations on top (comparable in nature to what happened in Curved Air or Mahavishnu Orchestra, but with a different flavour), in some way mixes a jazz-fusion freedom with an mid-eastern touch. Some of the used rhythmic scales are incredibly interesting like the 4+5/8 rhythm (-if I count right-), on “Distance”, and the brilliant, very unusual parts of even more combined rhythms on the closing track “apart from the rest”, which are (Ii think) adapted from Arab scales.

On the website they give a bit more detail into how they play Western Jazz improvisation and Eastern Taxims, Latin Samba and Eastern Kasilama, Western modes like Aeolian and Phrygian and Eastern Scales/Maqams like Hijaz, Sabah, and Niavent, for those who know what this all means in detail.

Recommended and very enjoyable listen !

Audio : "consequence","for whom? for me…","distance","erimos","finding my way","apart from the rest
Info & audio on & 
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& in the middle :    next album->

Esthema MusicEsthema : The hereness and nowness of things (US,2009)****
Esthema’s approach is like a great example of how a world fusion band should be able to sound. Nothing here of the recognisable themes to be improvised upon, but contemporary music based upon a wide range of skills and ideas, forming a new form of chamber folk(rock) music with a total world music fundament. The violin plays with jazz-fusion abilities but also switches easily to a few folkdance melodies with the same sort of strength ; the percussion plays with accurate precision, including microrhythms (learned from his Brazil days), while  broadening the scopes and pushing the boundaries towards a folk-rock and jazzrock, something which even improved the band’s original sound with a subtle touch of power. There are recognisable Greek or occasional Turkish music themes here and there, immediately adapted into bigger compositions and orientations. Surprising was also the use of some electric guitar, which widens the emotionality within the music even more, in an equally subtle balance (adding a "progressive" orientation to it). There were some guest appearances on dumbek and cello. Highly recommended !

Info & audio on &
Other reviews on ; next album->

Esthema MusicEsthema : Long Goobye (digpack) (US,2014)****
members (Mac Ritchey) play instruments like bouzouki, acoustic and electric oud, and that patterns of Middle Eastern music can be found in their general approach, of new fusion has become much more that of an all-world fusion, with a symphonic suite-like concept of improvisation, with some keyboard textures in the beginning to fill up space, and with a drum/bass/cello power that makes their music more like modern chamber-(music) rock.  In several parts the band almost waltzes it’s power up, with pickings, more pickings being added, then with chamber string arrangements in combination with oud (and drum of course). Other calmed down passages are led by violin with acoustic pickings, and still a fusion-based, warm podium chamber-feel, followed by more full chamber ensemble arrangements. The themes are well worked out in circular variations. “Fire and Shadow” has a nice emotionality shown in the violin lead, while the rest of the band accompanies and gives it a warm full chamber fusion band bed of arrangement, at the end of the first track evolving to have more power too. In the second part there’s an electric bass lead with Persian percussion, then a rather Turkish theme has been repeated with drum/chamber music/bouzouki lead. “Without A Moment's Notice” is a lament led by acoustic pickings, string arrangements/improvisations and bouzouki, bass and drums, with an up tempo groovier cello-led and then violin-led part with chamber music work-out before concluding again with the picking theme. “Reminiscence” sounds like a medieval Turkish-based theme, somewhat improvised upon. “Long Goodbye” is a romantic closer led by a violin/cello duet, accompanied by pickings, bass and Persian percussion.

Info & audio on

RagtimeEdward Powell : Bluesand (AUS,rec.2001-2004)****

The greatness of this album is a rich emotional world expressed as a blend of world music styles from different origins as if they were made for each other, giving an almost spiritual meaning to the blend. The gambri-bass and afro-bass sections by Edward Powell have an African touch, while the double bass by S.White is of a more jazzy origin. Edward Powell leads the tracks either with oud or baritone oud (not entirely Middle Eastern styled, because here he also blends ideas), or sitar (of course more Indian style based) while the percussion is either more Middle Eastern (darbuka,bendir,daff,riqq) or Indian (bodhran!!,tombak), additionally there are fine blends on Rhodes piano too (M.Reithofer), and vocal parts, blending spiritually felt and bluesier ideas with the other styles. ‘Bluesand’ could have referred to the Blue Nile, the heart of Africa from which culture spread into the world, but it mentions the most important ocean waves of deserts over Africa. From here it are blacks that moved to Israel (not mentioned), or to Asia Minor and to India, a connection which still could be felt into a fusion act if we want too dig this connection if we wanted too. It should not always be the India/Flamenco touch that should receive all the attention. This is like the African desert warmth, and the spirituality in bass and singing that survived through a less recognisable new form over the areas and times, but which, by going back over bluesy improvisations, use of some African bass, and experiencing some melodic rhythms something of the left trace will still shines through, like the rays of warm sand. Recommended !!

Audio : "trees are nice","crunch","sahana","alive" & on
Info & audio on   &

See also reviews of previous album here and of Friedsitar here

Home Rec.Karim Baggili : Lea & Kash (B,2010)****

Karim Bagilli takes his previous built up visions to a next level, having grown from a quartet pallet of expressions to a sextet, showing his visions in a filmic concept, just like a seriously composed chamber orchestra piece but with world folk musical themes. Being from former Yugoslavian/Lebanese roots himself but living in Belgium, it is as if he witnesses a part of Belgium’s cultural heritage where some other roots from the past has been mixed (to be heard in the Spanish guitar, in a colder chamber-like setting), and where at present also different languages quickly set in.  When I travel by bus in Antwerp I hear Spanish, Arabic and Polish (conversations to mobile phones mostly) almost more often than Dutch, in Karim Baggili’s concept they all have their shares of songs. With a melancholic flavour, a tango like dance and Spanish acoustic guitar and the chamber orchestra setting to start with they seem to have one musical language in common. This combined with his own Arab roots we hear in fact Spanish/ western classical /Arab modes mixed, most clearly composed from the mind of the guitarist/oud player, but in reality eventually led by the vocalists, being often an instrument (in duets and without words) amongst the orchestra when singing outside the songs, or by the cello and guitar/flute. An over 60 minute concept that listens like a filmic story. The booklet with photographs confirms this impression as if there really is a movie involved.

Dutch intro :
Info & audio : 
Label info :

Previous album reviews here and here

WhiteGates MusicTim White & Joe Paulino : Inhale Slowly (US,2012)***

I was a bit doubtful whether I should or should not review an album that remains within the range between New Age and World Music, because in that area a part of the creative process can be easily trapped in it. But because of the quality of Tim’s playing of the flute, rooted in Indian music he learned to play at the Ali Akhbar College, the music also has something of a convincing morning meditation setting. Most of the music has been build around that playing, which focuses on relaxing endlessly, like an inhalation process breathing in fresh air. These improvisations are finished with suitable earth drum, tempura drone, with short filling up acoustic picking themes and piano accents and warm keyboard textures. It gets the impression we have here something of the idea of the native Indian looking over an American landscape during the morning (earth drum), with the mind of the Indian who translates this into a morning raga improvisation, it also features the idealism of the white American, who created this functional process, which describes in fact well the inhalation of a meditation process, the first into a series of events necessary for preparation towards an increased reality awareness process, in which this case the creative process is limited to the first stage of harmonizing, giving the music form a practical purpose background more than the creative process stimulation itself. Beyond the therapeutic purposes this can get a bit lost at times, it needs to be said that the balance of the playing is standing strong enough on its own to give back a bit of its own breathing out into the world…

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