Review | Songlines


Rating: ★★★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details


Misagh Joolaee & Sebastian Flaig


Pilgrims of Sound


A collaboration between Iranian kamancheh (spike fiddle) player Misagh Joolaee and German percussionist Sebastian Flaig, this album explores new instrumental technical possibilities, odd time signatures and modal modulations; with a quote from Beethoven as its epigraph: ‘In the world of art, as in the whole of creation, freedom and progress are the main objectives.’ Certainly, the duo push at the boundaries of what is possible with their very simple acoustic pairing but, as was also the case with the great Beethoven, with a deep connection to the traditions of the past.

These are two highly versatile musicians: audible in the way they follow each other impeccably through a maze of complex rhythmic groupings, sophisticated ornamental gestures and dynamic expression. The title-track ‘Qanat’ (a reference to ancient desert wells) showcases Flaig’s innovative style with sounds of glass breaking and bottles being tapped, while ‘Torbat’ displays Joolaee’s mastery of advanced bow technique. There are also solo tracks that allow both to explore further possibilities: on ‘Wie Eine Erinnerung’ Flaig plays with an almost vocal directness and on ‘Ashena’ Joolaee’s melodic language becomes freer and more spacious. Like the eponymous qanat these two tap the well-spring of tradition for fresh sounds.

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