Mi Pasion

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A new recording by nuevo flamenco guitarist Armik is something like a gorgeous sunset -- always romantic, brilliant and colorful, yet so consistently lovely and perfect that it's easy to take for granted no matter the new shades and textures. Yet it's a true challenge for anyone, once seduced, to take his or her eyes and ears off of the exotic music and the always-striking album cover art that announces another shimmering collection. A fixture on the new age charts for years, his internationally acclaimed recordings have sold over a million and a half units (including one Gold record in Australia), so it's clear that the phenomenon is nearly as pervasive as the sunset. Armik's beautifully blends seductive, snappy toe-tappers as on Mi Pasion's opening track "Calima" (punctuated with scorching horn accents) and "Rumba de Noche" (featuring some of his best acoustic soloing over hypnotic percussion) with suavely romantic gestures à la the sweetly ambient title track and the swaying contemplation "Bolero." These softer tunes, as well as graceful midtempo pieces like "Warm Summer Nights" (which includes a dash of flute and horns), show a gentler side to his artistry -- and it's nice to see that melodic expression takes precedence over any tendency towards a barrage of notes for notes' sake. Armik's explored his passion before but, like the sunset, it's always nice to capture the latest moment in time.

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