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Mawwal: High Hills in the Creaving Road

Mawwal is led by Jim Matus, a world/fusion musician specializing in exotic instruments like the laouto, laoutar and baricello. The band has released four albums, the latest being High Hills In The Creaving Road, the follow up to their 2011 release Sight Up.

High Hills continues in the same tradition of Sight Up; world fusion played at a high level by a group of highly skilled musicians. That said, the songs are what makes this such an enjoyable listening experience as a lot of care has been taken to craft some exceptional melodies. The ethnic feeling holds true for the entire album as the music bristles with Middle Eastern, African and Asian accents. The album's first track "Youmala" features interesting percussion and ethnic infused vocals taking us to the heart of Africa. In "One More Arabia" the guitar playing takes on a distinct folky Arabic vibe (hence the song title). More exotic instruments are in full use, like the tabla, in "Mustt Mustt", but it's the somber strains of violin that distinguishes it from the first two songs. Arabia and India are channeled in "We Must Fall", a song featuring the excellent flute work of Jay Ghandi.

While all the songs the strong, the best of the bunch is the title track where the creative juices of the players are in full force. It's an acoustical delight with standout bass courtesy of Percy Jones (Brand X) and excellent musicianship across the board. I particularly dig the violin and bass interplay at the song's end.

For world music that is both creative and highly listenable, High Hills In The Creaving Road will be a tough one to top. Another solid four star effort from Mawwal.

Track Listing:
1. Youmala (6:03)
2. One More Arabia (5:00)
3. Mustt Mustt (3:54)
4. We Must Fall (6:02)
5. High Hills In The Creaving Road (6:52)
6. Khawaja Piya (5:46)
7. No Finer Men Than We (4:31)
8. Kosh Chenar/The Burden'd Air/Eleven Shreds Of No (6:20)

Added: January 26th 2013
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1871
Language: english

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