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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa

MERCAN DEDE

By Tom Jackson
Published September 27, 2005

Su
Escondida

In 2004 Mercan Dede pseudonymously released Fusion Monster. The album pictured him as a post-modern Frankenstein’s creature, a thing of shreds and patches. Where that celebrated cultural mishmash and juxtaposition, Su is the flipside, a bold and elegant fusion of sounds recorded overlooking the Bosphorus and built around the theme of water and continuity in life. Without being homogenized, the melodies are more fully developed than in his earlier albums and although the soundscapes retain their strangeness and electronic input, they rely less on effects and more on traditional Turkish instruments. Much is made of the spiritual side of Dede’s music, in particular the influence of the Sufi tradition. Certainly, there is something especially uplifting here in Aykut Sutoglu’s wonderful winding clarinet and on “Ab-I Hazan,” which features the extraordinary and unearthly voice of Tunisian vocalist Dhafer Youssef to sublime effect.