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(48 tracks: 62 min, Musea Parallele)
TRACK LIST: Too long, verbose and tangled... LINEUP: Even more tangled...
Prolusion. Most likely, "Nagali Malidi" is the first CD by SEBKHA CHOTT. It was released last March via Musea Parallele, a division of Musea Records. All the texts in the CD booklet are either in French or some unknown language (reminds me of Arabic character), though even those with Roman letters are practically unreadable. I've tried to obtain some sane info from the outfit's website, but everything there is the same way designed to muddle you, whether you're just a curious visitor or a potential purchaser/listener. There is the section "Who Is Who", but it looks like a sneer, explaining nothing, to put it mildly. No real names, just anonyms, most of the "band members" listed being real deceased people! (If these are just attempts to intrigue someone, they are ridiculous, if not just wretched.) There is one page in English on the website, but there is nothing intelligible either - just some strange hints, innuendos and semi-latent boastings. Gibberish. Narcissism. Finally here is what the CD press kit says about the project, word for word: "Sebkha Chott is a bunch of young French musicians playing brass instruments, flute..." Then follow just dots indeed, that's all. And, well, the name Sebkha Chott itself: God knows what that means!
Analysis. I've spent an enormous amount of time trying to find out where Sebkha Shot come from and where they go. So it is no surprise that I was quite negatively disposed towards their CD prior to listening to it. (Well, I understand that emotions shouldn't overshadow the actual state of affairs and that any review should be objective above all). It is no surprise either that the music turns out to be incredibly eclectic, especially on the stylistic plane. You have to possess an extremely rich fancy to imagine what they have mixed into one bag here: classical jazz, cool-jazz, jazz-rock/fusion, space-fusion, psychedelic and cabaret music, doo-wap, Latin, Flamenco, samba, rumba, ballad, hard rock, power, thrash, doom metal, noise, industrial, RIO, reggae, ska, funk, soul, troubadour and more, plus a wide variety of traditional music tunes - Turkish, Jewish, Gypsy, Balkan, Celtic, Arabian, Indian, etc and so on. It's all the same in the vocal palette: male, female, usual, low- and high-pitched singing, falsetto, screaming and growling, narratives, speeches and shouts and, well, many other kinds of human voices. But in the final analysis the music appears to be quite good, with lots of purely acoustic arrangements and, therefore, a warm sound. It's full of unusual ideas and is for the most part genuinely progressive, although in its overall appearance, it can hardly be defined otherwise than "experimental". The 48 track-segments of the album come with no pauses between them, lasting from literally several seconds to two minutes (the only exception being the last one: 12:04), but the music shifts its course more than merely frequently too - sure, kaleidoscopically.
Conclusion. It is very problematic comparing this recording with anything else from the annals of earthly people's music. Nonetheless fans of Frank Zappa might be happy to have this musical salad in their collection and should find it exciting to listen to. Experiment is the word.
VZ: May 31, 2006
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