106

Dhafer Youssef: Digital Prophecy

Javier AQ Ortiz By

Sign in to view read count
Dhafer Youssef: Digital Prophecy The genesis of Digital Prophecy is diaphanously cinematic. With flowing dramatic ardor, “Diaphanes” exudes a strong oud aroma. It’s earthy, simple, relaxed, and suggestively enhanced with dripping and aerial electronic effects from Eivind Aarset, who also gleams on guitar. As Yoda would say of the crescendo caravanesque march of “Aya”—which first exhibit the leader’s haunting Arabic vocals—“Rich in melodic, rhythmic, chordal and harmonic subtleties, insinuated in sensual Middle Eastern over and undertones an album this is.”



Dhafer Youssef frames Islamic Sufism as a leading motif for a musical exploratory meditation of an avant-roots nature; which is to say that he navigates progressively, technologically and culturally advanced paths on ancient Arabic musical, jazz, rock and electronica beat trails. The recording isn’t, however, a three steps forward—into futuristic maelstrom—with two steps backwards—into musical archeology—dance. The Norwegian supporting cast enhances Youssef’s Arabic by befitting his Middle Eastern soundscaping aesthetics rather expertly. They, however, are 21st Century bound and therein lies some of the beauty of this particular type of musical synthesis.



The ensemble playing, as well as the soloing in “Sparkling Truth,” illustrates such claims rather well. Bugge Wesseltoft’s sensible piano playing, with the tasteful and steady backbeat of Rune Arnesen’s drumming, aligned so finely with Dieter Ilg’s single noted and cool bass grooves—as well as the always opportune and beautiful guitar and electronic work of Aarset—are both infectious and effective. The leader, on the other hand, shows mastery as an improviser in the oud, with precise and clear intonation, great dexterity and technical facility, aided by passionate feeling. Thus, their performance in the aforementioned composition is the type of music that can be easily remixed for club dance, although it’s quite a bit more than a transposition of amicable grooves with trance possibilities within a march-like linear logic.



“Seventh Heaven Suite,” featuring the enigmatically named N.P.M. on trumpet—out-Truffazing Truffaz—is an energetic gem, just as much of the meatier carvings of this recording are.



Visit Enja Records on the web.


Track Listing: 1. Diaphanes 2. Aya (1984) 3. Dawn Prayer 4. Sparkling Truth 5. Ysamy 6. Holy Breath 7. Seventh Heaven Suite 8. Wood Talk 9. Holy Lie (Empire D'Ivresse Suite) 10. Flowing Water

Personnel: 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. N.P.M.: Trumpet.

Title: Digital Prophecy | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Enja Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Mind Behind Closed Eyes" CD/LP/Track Review Mind Behind Closed Eyes
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Xabregas 10" CD/LP/Track Review Xabregas 10
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Hera" CD/LP/Track Review Hera
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Nellie Bly Project" CD/LP/Track Review Nellie Bly Project
by Paul Rauch
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "The Final Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Playgrounds" CD/LP/Track Review Playgrounds
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 10, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.