(All Album Reviews by Burgess Penguin)
Kevin Evans: Guitars, Guitar Synth, Soundscapes
Pierce McDowell: Bass, Sitar, Tamboura
Cyoakha Grace: Lead Vocals, Words
Areyh Frankfurter: VIolin, Viola, Acoustic Guitars, Cello, Mandolin
Stephan Junca: Drums, Percussion
plus several other percussionists
Special Guest: Daevid Allen: Glissando Guitar on "Petra"
Every once in a great while, something truly unique comes along that begs your rapt indulgence and undivided attention. Azigza's debut CD is most definitely one of those things.
From the first note, the listener is drawn into a swirling and colorful musical beauty that is by turns haunting, dizzyingly complex, sensual and alluring.
The band is not just merely wearing it's musical sources on its sleeve (they draw from a vast palette of Arabic, East European, Celtic, North African/Egyptian and American Indian sources), but they actually manage to integrate it into a unique cohesive sound all their own.
The key sonic ingredients here are the dense layered odd-meter percussion, swooping dancing violin lines, stern arpeggiated guitar figures and occasional soundscapes plus Cyoakha Grace's haunting soprano spinning mysterious tales and musings. Her voice is at once soothing and very commanding; you just can't ignore her beauty, vocally and otherwise. Among the highlights are "Zaman", "Petra" (featuring Gong's Daevid Allen adding some appropriately mysterious glissando guitar), "Edallah ya Rashidi" (a severely rearranged traditional Egyyptian song), and even the amazing cover of Led Zeppelin's "Friends" that breathes new life into it.
Not a weak cut exists on this brilliant debut at all. If you want something refreshingly different and darkly exotic, let Azigza put you under its wonderful spell.