BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Jon Balke and Amina Alaoui: Siwan (ECM/Ode)

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Jon Balke, Jon Hassell, Amina Alaoui: Ya Safwati
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Jon Balke and Amina Alaoui: Siwan (ECM/Ode)

This album fits squarely into Elsewhere, but perhaps in few other places. Not only does it feature Elsewhere favourite Jon Hassell on trumpet and electronic effects, but it has a swooning Arab North African quality (singer Amina Alaoui comes from Morocco), the poetic lyrics come from Sufi writers and the whole thing is beautifully, and emotionally, orchestrated by Jon Balke.

With harpsichord, lute, a string section, Pedram Khavar Zamini on zarb (hand drums) and the violin of Kheir Eddine M'Kachiche, this remarkable album has a transcultural effect, the soaring vocals by Alaoui providing emotional uplift, the electronics from Hassell and dark viola and violincello providing a solid and exotically mysterious grounding.

Mesmerising, transcendental in places, occasionally dramatic and always affecting, this one is a standout for ECM. 

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mark robinson - Nov 9, 2009

Stunning preview track Graham.

I don't have to add any comments to the discussion about how the ECM record label continues to release (fill in adjectives like stimulating, intelligent, inspiring, moving) music. But lets acknowledge ODE Records for importing ECM and making it available in NZ.

More of this music should be broadcast and opened up to an audience that, i believe, wants to hear and purchase it.

Good on you, Roger Marbeck and Trevor Reekie for enlightening us.

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