Oriental Garden, Vol. 2

Various Artists

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Oriental Garden, Vol. 2 Review

by Heather Phares

Boasting a somewhat misleading title, Oriental Garden, Vol. 2, offers two discs' worth of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean-inspired tracks that mix those traditions with contemporary dance music. Disc one gets off to a strong start with the modern gypsy music of Kostas Pavlidis' lovely "Spread Your Wings and Fly," which, not coincidentally, is one of the collection's least electronically enhanced tracks. The tracks with a heavier dance influence range from the heavily processed, Enigma-esque "Sheherazad" by Sapho to the droning beauty of Turkish Delight's "Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayim." Still, the collection's more acoustic-based songs are its standouts, such as Souad Massi's "Ghir Enta," Faltriqueira's "Palmira," and Jony Iliev & Band's "Arizona." Most of the other tracks included on disc one are at least passable, although some of the more hip-hop-influenced songs like Clotaire K's "Lubnan" sound out of place with the rest of the collection. Disc two is even more dance-oriented, although the quality of the material is better. Al'Fariah and DJ Paulo's "Desert" and Varinder Sangha's "Mitran Nu Han Karke" are both organic and danceable. Likewise, Natacha Atlas, T.U.U.P., and Princess Juliana's "Eye of the Duck"; Khalèd's "Didi"; and Amr Diab's "Enta Ma Oltesh Leh" are some of the other standout tracks. While it's not the most authentic collection of Middle Eastern music available, Oriental Garden, Vol. 2, still has enough appealing moments to make it worthwhile for the most open-minded fans of the style.

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