Anouar Brahem CD review [ECM]

Music Reviews
Anouar Brahem CD review [ECM]
Aug 27, 2002, 17:04

ANOUAR BRAHEM Le pas du chat noir CD

I don't recall where I saw this, but I remember reading that while there's often worldwide resistance to American entertainment exports in the interest of artistic purity, it still hasn't stopped other cultures from co-mingling. Witness this starkly elegant disc, a truly exquisite fusion of North African melodic lines and Satie-like solitude, recorded in Germany a couple of years ago. Tunisian oud player and composer Anouar Brahem, pianist Francois Couturier, and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier have concocted a courtly, refined disc that unspools glacially to reveal beautiful North African melodies as crystalline and delicate as frozen spider webs, sighing squeezebox worthy of a French sidewalk cafe, and stark, skeletal piano. The compositions are languid, and measured, but still have an earthiness warming their chilly structures. The result is music that can stand up to careful listening, but its craft is reassuring, not intimidating. I'm no New Ager, but listening to this disc after a wearing day wipes the worries away like a cool rag on a feverish brow. Rigorous, yet very restorative. [ECM]

-Cecile Cloutier

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