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Kayhan Kalhor/Erdal Erzincan: Kula Kulluk Yakisir Mi

While released through Jazz specialists ECM, the collaboration between Iranian born Kayhan Kalhor on kamencheh (spike fiddle) and Turkish born Erdal Erzincan on baglama (bass saz) ventures keenly into free-form improvisational World Music. Deep, dark and intense, this is music with the atmosphere of unease and the release of dreams; making for a soundtrack without pictures, and story without words. The album title, Kula Kulluk Yakisir Mi is taken from a folk song of the same name by renowned baglama player Muhlis Akarsu and translates to "How unseemly it is to follow anyone slavishly", a motto which can be felt throughout this album.

The two musicians do a wonderful job of combining cultures and approaches through their interplay and while some basis in traditional pieces is employed is a foundation from which to grow, this 2011 live recording finds the pair constructing much of this as they go along, making the results even more impressive. However no matter how impressive much of this continuous movement is, there's no denying that the oppressive nature of much of what is created here leaves it remote and difficult to penetrate. The result being that the imagination can wander and attention wane as this lengthy album plays out.

That said the many bursts of spontaneous applause which break out as improvisation causes a crescendo, or structured pieces are played out in expert style, are well earned and I'm sure this must have been utterly captivating fare on the evening it was created. Here, on disc however a little of that immediacy is lost and an air of similarity can undoubtedly creep in, although not even that can stop you marvelling at the skill and dexterity of the protagonists, or their ability to almost mind read where their partner will dive next.

I can't pretend that in places this album isn't tough going. It is and often the sheer atmospheric weight of what this pair conjure can become a hard journey. However patience is, in general, rewarded and admirers of the best exponents of this style of music and these instruments will find much to lose themselves in.

Track Listing
1. Improvisation I
2. All Turnam
3. Improvisation II
4. Deli Dervi
5. Daldalan Bar
6. Improvisation III
7. Kula Kulluk Yak r M
8. Improvisation IV
9. Improvisation V
10. The Wind
11. Intertwining Melodies

Added: November 2nd 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: ECM Records
Hits: 2086
Language: english

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