Thursday, 26 April 2012

Amine-Hamza - Perpetual Motion 2011

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: World
Original Release Date: 2011
Label: Network

By Bill Tilland Tunisian brothers Amine and Hamza M’raihi, who play the oud and qanun (zither), respectively, are seasoned musical veterans well versed in the Arabic classical tradition. But their curiosity has prompted them to pursue a vision of contemporary world music which, as they state, “attempts to break down borders and barriers.” Perpetual Motion came out last year, but you probably haven’t heard of it, because it comes without the marquee value of world-music projects attached to superstars like Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel or Sting. Experiments of this sort often have mixed results, especially when stars from various cultures are thrown together into a kind of jam-band format with few guidelines and limited rehearsal time. But this fully realized effort has no such issues or deficiencies. The M’raihi brothers are the primary instrumental focus throughout, Hamza’s qanun bringing a bright sound similar to the eastern European version of instrument, although here it is plucked and strummed rather than beaten with hammers. It pairs nicely with the deeper, darker sound of Amine’s oud. To embellish individual tracks, the brothers enlisted a handful of skilled, sympathetic musicians on vocals, guitar, clarinet, flute, percussion, and the Boston String Quartet, arranged by Polish pianist Nikola Kollziejczyk. He uses the strings effectively – even dramatically at times — but always in a supportive role, providing sensitive backing for the M’raihi brothers’ sparkling melodic oud-qanun interplay....

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