Mehmet Ergin

Beyond the Seven Hills

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On the best tracks of Beyond the Seven Hills, Ergin enhances his own approach to laid back flamenco guitar with powerful, classical flavored bursts from a three piece violin/viola section. "Two Parts" opens with a lively, percussive string hook that draws inspiration from Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," before simmering down into a cool, caressing acoustic melody - and then heating up yet again. Likewise, "Selling the Aroma" textures a simply melody line with an easy, tapping percussion and occasional, unexpected bursts of sitar and sharp, explosive violin passages. Think Willie & Lobo with a more orchestral flair - because Willie & Lobo never soared quite as high as the swelling strings of "Spiral Movement." Ironically, what Ergin could have learned from Spheeris * and W&L - is the others' grand sense of melody. With the exception of the mentioned cuts and a few notable others, Ergin focuses more on taking us to the gypsy heart of the Middle East than developing convincing songs throughout. The weakest of these, "Nine Faces," comes across as noodling. Probably if you put Ergin and Spheeris in a room together, they'd emerge with the ultimate flamenco project.

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