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Didier Malherbe and Loy Ehrlich: Hadouk

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Hadouk is a mesmerizing collection of exotic instrumentals from two imaginative Frenchmen: virtuoso wind player Didier Malharbe and string player Loy Ehrlich.

A member of the legendary fusion group Gong, Malharbe plays an astounding array of wind instruments here, including douoduk, double-flute, bamboo-clarinet, and various whistles and ocarinas. Loy provides beautiful accompaniment on some unusually named stringed instruments: hajouj, kora, boolong, kora, sanza, and djembe, whatever they are. By embellishing on some simple melodies and combining rhythmic and harmonic elements from different cultures, the two players weave an unusual but alluring sound tapestry.

Truth be told, I almost ditched this CD after the first three cuts, which at first struck me as borderline New Age pieces. But I'm glad I stuck with these guys, because the fourth tune "Loukoumotive" is a real attention-grabber, and the rest of the album doesn't let go. "Loukoumotive," is a charming train piece with some incredible sounds generated by Mahlabare on ocarina. Another highlight is "Bal Des Oiseaux," a sublime tropical tune set to a catchy zouk rhythm.

Malharbe is a monster talent, and Hadouk has enough improvisational elements to please most jazz fans. Credit this duo for creating some truly original music.

Record Label: Zebra Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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