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Nima & Merge: Merge

Merge was the debut offering from Persian "Stick" player Nima and Merge, which was followed up by the album Separate Worlds and the Nima Collective album Songs Of Strange Delight - which are both reviewed elsewhere on this site. This first effort from the band finds a musical gathering which blends cultural styles, through mixing both genres, instruments and ethnic musical outlooks. There's no "searching for a sound" on this debut album, in fact the complete opposite is true, with Merge being as assured and confident an album as you could hope to find and I personally also think that it eclipses the album which followed it, Separate Worlds.

A prime example of the assured approach on this album comes in the shape of the slowly building tones of "Reng", which finds the stick hammering out little bursts of melody, which allow the other instruments to dance and whirl over that backing to wonderful effect. "Float" on the other hand sounds very much like an Asian, vocal-less version of something that Clannad could have come up with. Obviously the lack of vocals on this song makes that an unusual comparison, but the flow, mood and vibe are very similar, if the actual execution is not. This album also has little quirky moments which catch you unaware, such as the "Canopy", where the whispers and shuffles flit rapidly from channel to channel, making for a melody less and unnerving diversion from a strongly musical album, while "Noise Compliant" comes across in a similar way to a Joe Satriani track where uneasy harmonics continually pull at your attention. That said it is the more obviously musical moments which truly captivate here, with "From Within" creating a merry jazzy dance and the wonderful "Tap Space", where the stick is again very much to the fore being the strongest tracks on show. The latter of which actually sounds like a precursor to the glorious "In Time" from the most recent Nima Collective album and as such becomes a song that I have never tired of listening to.

If you are looking for an artist who can blend musical styles such as jazz and progressive music with more traditional world music, then look no further than Nima. Personally I'd start with the recent Songs Of Strange Delight album, however Merge comes in a very close second.

Track Listing
1. Intro
2. Reng
3. Tap Dance
4. Fragments
5. Canopy
6. Motion-1
7. Float
8. Noise Compliant
9. From Within
10. I Left Behind
11. Resistance

Added: October 7th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Nima Collective
Hits: 1504
Language: english

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