esbe: Saqqara (New Cat/digital outlets)

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esbe: Saqqara (New Cat/digital outlets)

An album for those of the esoteric/world music/Enya/exotic soundscape persuasion.

Named for the oldest pyramid in Egypt, Saqqara, this album by London producer/singer and acclaimed acoustic guitaristt esbe here delivers a very seductive collection of ethereal songs within a dreamy, folkadelic atmosphere which often oozes sensuality (Carry Me Away which alludes to Cleopatra and Mark Anthony) but just as often allows her pure voice so soar above drones.

There's also touches of downbeat electronica here in the soundbeds but again her vocals – full of North African melismas, sometimes discreetly layered to create a choral effect – sit alongside djembe, tabla etc to create a warp and weft of voice and evocative, if sometimes, melodically familiar, string samples.

Some would rightly prefer more authentic music to represent this region, but that would be like criticising Clannad by saying their theme for the Robin of Sherwood TV series wasn't true to English music of the 12thcentury.

Esbe is using the myths, music, romanticism and styles of Arabic music – which she has studied and absorbed, along with the poetry of Rumi etc – to evoke an esoteric, folk-styled sound which is quite beguiling.

But selective about its audience.

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