Omar Khorshid

Guitar El Chark

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AllMusic Review by

Omar Khorshid was a massive figure in the musical movements of Egypt in the 1970s, adding his guitar to a series of bands and solo excursions ranging from the now-classic Oum Kalthoum to his own brands of psychedelic experimentation. As he flies through these recordings, all from the 1973-1977 period, the sound is immediately striking. The chaos of a stereotypical Middle Eastern bazaar is inherent in every track, with tiny clashes, small and large thumps of a darbukkah, and jangling percussion everywhere. With that, though, there's an organ that roves into true psychedelic territory à la Ray Manzarek more often than it stays as basic accompaniment. And there's Khorshid himself, powering his guitar through odd mixes of rhythmic exploration, of traditional scales, and of acid jazz noodling all at once. The resulting sound is simultaneously exotic, ageless, and retro-modern. But all elements are entrancing. This is nostalgic ethnic music at its finest, and is only aided by the extensive liner notes and the vinyl release, which adds the old sparkle and pop of the record player to the sound.

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