12/05/2007

Dhafer Youssef - Digital Prophecy (2003)

«Tunisia-born singer and oudist Dhafer Youssef should be recording for ECM. His albums have a similar spiritual, centered quality to the work appearing on that label, and his work on this album with some of Norway's top jazz players points completely in that direction. He lives very much on the cutting edge, taking things even further than he did on 2001's Electric Sufi. Where that album used electronica as the periphery of the music, here he brings it to the heart of the sound, integrating it seamlessly into his compositions, as on "Aya," where a seemingly found sound becomes the heartbeat of the track. His collaborators, including trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær, offer him plenty of space, and that's what the music needs — it's as wide open as the Tunisian desert. He's a good player of the oud, but his real weapon — apart from his sense of composition — is his voice, with a range that's truly stunning, and never put to better use than on "Dawn Prayer," where his high notes, seemingly impossible, stand as a revelation, with an aching melody that just stays in the brain. At the same time as Youssef pushes at the edges in his work, there's a sense of the music still being very centered in North Africa. On the basis of this, Youssef is extending his cutting edge even further.» (AMG)

«Interprete inizialmente di sonorità molto vicine alla tradizione più pura del mondo musicale nordafricano, con il disco Electric Sufi Youssef cominciò ad andare cautamente incontro a suoni più moderni, verificandone la compatibilità con le sue pulsioni più naturali. In questo bel disco molti elementi concorrono a mettere in contatto, ma nello stesso tempo tengono a debita distanza, i suoni più moderni dell’elettronica e dei campionamenti del nord Europa e le sue radici tunisine. Dal titolo del disco che oppone due termini lontani anni luce all’immagine di Youssef in copertina, icona delle tradizioni del suo paese, all’affermazione finale nel bel libretto di accompagnamento: “il mio ultimo respiro sarà in arabo”. Con lui, bravissimo e a tratti impressionante (la sua voce non sembra tale in Dawn Prayer, e l’oud del primo brano è scarno e immaginifico), musicisti già conosciuti e affermati per operazioni musicali innovative, a cominciare da Bugge Wesseltoft, per continuare con Eivind Aarset e Rune Arnesen, fino agli altri che completano un mosaico quasi perfetto.Un mosaico che ci racconta come i generi musicali possano incontrarsi senza sforzi, grazie alle sensibilità straordinarie degli attori in scena, e come la musica araba sia forse la più adatta a scoprire gli incastri preziosi con l’elettronica; e come il termine world music possa vivere una rappresentazione reale e affascinante in lavori come questo, tutto da godere.» (EGEA)

German review here

More on Dhafer Youssef at L’Arbre de les 1000 Musiques

Line-up:

Dhafer Youssef oud, vocal
Eivind Aarset guitars, electronics
Ronu Majumdar bansuri
Dieter Ilg acoustic bass
Rune Arnesen drums, programming
Bugge Wesseltoft piano, keyboards
Jan Bang beat programming

Nils Petter Molvaer trumpet

Link in comments

4 comments:

Radu said...

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Anonymous said...

Thank You for this undiscovered gem of an album!

Anonymous said...

Excelente album Radu! gracias ;-)
(also the postcards!)

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