Ancient Future

Asian Fusion

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Jim Hurley and Matthew Montfort's shared violin-and-guitar-line leads catch hold of a strong melody and bite down hard. But despite Zhao Hui's Chinese gu sheng board zither, Bui Hui Nhut's dan bao Vietnamese one-stringed lute, and assorted ethnic percussion, vernacular instruments don't share equal weight with the band's folk-classical thrust, and the cuts that are carved from indigenous music -- "The Dusk Song of the Fisherman" or the lovely Indonesian degung of "Sunda Strait" -- tilt somewhat toward the generic. Still, the disc's got plenty of fire, and its loveliness often surprises.

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