Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1

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There have been dozens of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan collections to hit the shelves since his passing in the 1990s, most of them focused on the music he made during the last decade-and-a-half of his life, from 1985 onwards. But volume one of this two-volume collection from the French division of EMI does something quite different and focuses on the foundational recordings of the great q'waali singer. The Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 is a double-disc set that concentrates on the earliest recordings between 1978 and 1982. There are a total of seven tunes, all are wonderfully long, and all are quite raw, but have very fine sound. The production sheen that made Nusrat's records so marketable in the late '80s is absent here (so don't even think about hearing anything that resembles "Mustt, Mustt"), and what one does get in its place is music of ecstatic spiritual devotion. One can sense on these numbers that the singer and his backing musicians are not only improvising in prayer, but are being transported somewhere else. The edginess in the sound makes it very present to the listener. The price is attractive and the music is almost literally out of this world. [In addition, both CDs in the set have enhanced media embedded for interacting with on your computer.]

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