Thursday, September 9, 2010

CD Review: Natacha Atlas' 'Mounqaliba'


What seems to be a departure for Natacha Atlas may in fact be a concept album with historic roots and societal relevance. Mounqaliba is an Arabic term for 'being in a state of reversal'. In this case, the 'reversal' pertains to a growing uncivilization of global culture and society. This is evidenced throughout the album with taped excerpts of Peter Joseph's thoughts on the pitfalls of modern society through the Zeitgeist Movement for the betterment of society as a whole. Mounqaliba is largely a classical, Arabic album without Natacha's typical, modernized Arabic pop sound. Natacha tries to match the lyricism of classical music with Arabic poetry. In addition, Natacha is joined by a twenty-member Turkish orchestra with strings, ney flute, accordion, percussion, and piano. The result is a primarily classical approach to Arabic music with languid beats and soulful vocals interspersed with a few spoken word soundbites, thunder sounds, traffic noise, and religious calls. Despite this, Mounqaliba is the product of a mature songstress and visionary with an eye to the past and an ear to the future. ~ Matthew Forss

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