Album Reviews

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NATACHA ATLAS

Mounqaliba-Rising: The Remixes

2011-10-10

A remix of an earlier album by the same name, Mounqaliba-Rising: The Remixes is more palatable than the songs in their original form (in my humble opinion). Beats Antique, David Starfire, Earthrise SoundSystem and others have proffered their take on Atlas’ Middle Eastern sound--for the better. Five versions of her song “Batkallim” are presented: track #1 is a journey of many musical elements including strings, piano, sitar, and is heavily synthed. It’s an 8 minute song but is the best this CD has to offer. The whole album, with the exception of “Riverman,” has a club beat. “Makaan” is heavily autotuned/vocoded. “Mounqaliba,” the title track, is mysterious and odd with background sirens but memorable. Natacha produces a delicate cover of Nick Drake’s “Riverman” on track #12. Bombay Dub’s version of “Batkallim” (#10) is a pleasing piece of global fusion electronica. The last song “Egypt” uses audio clips of the recent uprising as its backdrop…the story-song speaks of a people standing toe-to-toe with their government, all the while the melody is laced with piano and driving beat. – Pam VandeKerkhoff

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