This entry in a UNESCO-sponsored survey of modal music and improvisation around the globe brews slowly, like a cup of Turkish coffee being brewed out in the sun. There is no doubt that the final number, "Darabukka Solo" by Muhammed El-Arabi, would bowl most listeners over, even ones who swear that sitting through a drum solo is a physical impossibility. Yet there is a possibility of nodding off before it comes around, not because the earlier pieces are boring, which they certainly never are, but because it all has such an intoxicating state of calm to it. This is despite the fact that the main job of the instrumentalists is to wind up all manner of impressive variations on the original scales. It is perfect background for relaxing with a novel by the great Egyptian author Naguib Mahfoux, especially the classy and attractive performance by the Takht Ensemble of Cairo. Stringed instrument lovers will particularly enjoy the astounding oud solo by Gomaa Muhammed Ali. The recording quality is fat, bringing out certain low tones in the oud and drum in a way that reaches right for the gut.
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AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne