The opener, ‘Balahto’, is one of Gurtu’s three featured compositions and is typical of the approach, kicking in with an urgent insistent bass pattern over skittering Asian percussion before the Western classical strings take up a dancing melody with a vaguely Celtic feel.
Nobody’s showboating or trying to outplay each other: every instrument, Eastern and Western is carefully calibrated in perfect balance.
Oddly, it’s often the compositions by the Italian quartet that have the strongest Asian feel. ‘Kermanşah’ is written by violinist Valentino Corvino but has Gurtu’s dreamy tabla playing to the fore, and bursts of Indian tala singing over some lovely, Gypsy-like strings, while ‘Fes’, composed by fellow violinist Carlo Catnini, is another sublimely moody piece that unites Asian, Mediterranean and North African influences. There’s both an attention to detail and a broader, cinematic quality. To say that in places it sounds like high-class film music is no criticism at all. (Nigel Williamson, Songlines. More reviews here)»
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