There is a feeling in the music of Anouar Brahem of being wrapped up and warm. The oud, with its rubbery pluckings and mellow and honeyed tones seems to blend perfectly with the clarinet which glides and slides from depth to depth. You may not have travelled this way before, to Djibouti or Beirut, but you are safe. And you feel it.
Astounding is a reference, in the name of this album, to a woman’s eyes. But really it is a valid a description of the playing and musical vision of Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem. He is usually placed in the very front lines of the those who play this old Arabian lute instrument; in his rich music and with his wonderfully selected band members, he has moved the instrument forward with grace and nuance.
Albums as perfect as this appear rarely. Tunisian oud maestro Brahem has been one of ECM’s most-revered artists for years, pioneering a superior kind of east-west fusion (although that makes it sound less interesting than it is).
But this quartet recording beats anything I’ve heard from him yet. Dedicated to the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, the album’s eight originals trace a continuous arabesque, wind and strings intertwining against a trance-like rhythmic pulse, which at times gets heavy enough to recall Massive Attack’s remix of Nusrat. (The Independent)
Dance With Waves
For No Apparent Reason
Galilee Mon Amour
Stopover At Djibouti
The Astounding Eyes Of Rita
The Lover Of Beirut