Dino Saluzzi as a solo performer is one of the more remarkable musicians in contemporary music, in that he plays several instruments, including his beloved bandoneon with such precision, balance and subtle power. Kultrum is indeed a multi-cultural project that taps into the folkloric, ancestral, and traditional sounds of Native American Indians and his South American roots, enhanced by producer Manfred Eicher's Eurocentric notions. The blending of deep drums, rattling percussion, and chanted vocals with the bandoneon or wood flutes creates a vista of deeply spiritual and ancient ritualistic music. Somehow these sounds are magically transmuted and modernized by the pristine sonic tones the ECM production team always lends to their albums, making this a true contemporary world music tour de force. Without the usage of overdubbing, Saluzzi takes the one-man band concept to tribal elder, soothsayer, or medicine man terrain. "Kultrum Pampa" sets the tone, as a flute sound like a French horn opens the gates for various cymbals and African percussion instruments. "Agua De Paz" naturally flows like a long stream, while "Pajaros y Ceibos" reflects the natural sounds of a woodland and avian creatures in a vocal manner reminiscent of Milton Nascimento. Clearly this recording depicts a journey through various warm climates, exotic mountains, and glorious natural terra firma. The three-part suite "Ritmo Arauca" is an audio landscape in a full day cycle of rain, thunder, tropical bird calls, and bandoneon told tales of legends, followed by after dinner bonfire dancing. "El Rio y El Abuelo" directly reflects Saluzzi's traditions of his homeland in Argentina, with "Pasos Que Quedan" the most passionately romantic piece, and "Por El Sol y Por La Lluvia" again evocative of the sun and rain, but in a motif akin to morning awakening, as the circadian rhythms of life are renewed again. The bandoneon is not just Saluzzi's instrument, but his heart and soul singing and pleading to a rat race world that knows not of the secrets of the rain forest, the so-called third world, or of life apart from the concrete jungle. Your invitation to discover this remote topography is hereby offered, only a purchase price away from passage on a fascinating excursion into ancient, unadulterated, untouched lands anchored in the mystical realm of the imagination.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos