Cosmos Gaming, CD Review >>
A lot of artists these days seem to be incorporating Western influences in with very old, traditional styles of music. While there are still plenty of musicians who play traditional cultural songs note for note, there are also quite a few who are taking these century old songs and turning them into their own pieces. One of the latest bands to do this is Salaam, an act that combines elements of traditional Iraqi and other Middle Eastern music (some of which dates back to the 17th century) with modern rock and jazz influences. And on their self titled debut, this group showcases that their blend of Western and Middle Eastern music is fairly complex and has quite a bit to offer listeners.
Salaam’s album immediately starts off with material that is heavily influenced by traditional Middle Eastern arrangements, but it doesn’t take long before listeners start to notice some of the eclectic elements that the instrumentalists have added. Though there are quite a few songs where the band uses older and more traditional instruments, listeners might be surprised to hear trumpet arrangements and other American sounding elements added into the mix. But this doesn’t mean that Salaam lazily added modern touches to older material, as everything about their debut seems to have been planned out so that it fits perfectly. The end result is a release that is equal parts jazz and equal parts world music, and the two are often intertwined in such a way that they sound different from what you have heard before. Salaam occasionally adds some vocals to the mix, which are melodic and do give some of the Middle Eastern/North African influenced songs some more authentic styles but for the most part the instrumentals do enough to speak for themselves.
There are a lot of fusion artists who simply throw together different genres together, but Salaam is not like that. Instead, they offer a mix of Middle Eastern and African music with jazz touches. It’s the perfect blend of old and new, and the group has given some of this century old material an entirely new feeling and style. Jazz and world music fans will want to check this disc out, as it will give each a taste of a different world that they may not have experienced before. 07/08/09 >> go there