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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By RAFFI MENESHIAN
Published March 3, 2006

EAST 2 WEST—GLOBAL DEPARTURES FROM ISTANBUL
Doublemoon

MERCAN DEDE SECRET TRIBE
Nar
Doublemoon

East 2 West is a compilation of 13 tracks from different artists, each presenting attempts at merging Near Eastern and Western musical styles. Wax Poetic’s “Angels” features the likes of legendary Armenian percussionist Arto Tuncboyacian and current pop/jazz singer Norah Jones backed by a standard jazz band. “Angels” is a dreamy tune that fuses urban funk, jazz vocals and Tuncboyacian’s trademark bottle blowing to achieve a fluid and cohesive intercultural sound. Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t come close to matching the heights of “Angels.” Instead, East 2 West veers way off course. Most tunes are either overly drawn-out jazz tunes with sprinkles of Near Eastern instruments or very bad attempts at Turkish rap backed by standard drum machine beats. One of the artists on East 2 West is Mercan Dede Secret Tribe. On their album, Nar, samples of Anatolian folk music are given the Buddha Bar/Peter Gabriel-Passion treatment. The only problem is that the oud, duduk, and dumbeg samples are more interesting than the electronic overdubs.