|Planet Drum, Baba Olatunji, The Tabla Project and others kicked wide open the doors to the previously underground percussion-only exploits of master drummers collaborating in professional drum circles. So it comes as no surprise that the complex patterns of Middle-Eastern rhythms would find their own factory outlet for such ventures. Like parallel but senior percussion super group Harem, today's Sultans of Secrets erects pulsating sheets of handpercussion patterns fluttering into your living room like advance pulses of Beduin dromedary men rolling home.
As befits geography, local color and melodic flavor are provided by clarinet, violin or kanun zither but the main attraction are the finger patters and trills on multiple darbuka and djembe skins exploring countless variations on the main tsifeteli beat. The underlying lines of bass guitar or synth lock in the groove while brassy tambourines and open frame drums suggest sinuous belly dancers gyrathing their exposed navels to the admiring smoke signals of the water pipes.
Rhythm of Colours breaks no new ground and, in terms of variety, complexity and vitality, remains overshadowed by Harem whose Rhythm Colour [on rival label Mega Muzik] remains the musically more satisfying effort. Still, the present release is a valued addition for rhythm rabbis and percussion professors, or minus-one opportunity for those listeners who enjoy busting a few finger capillaries while beating up their own drums, the stereo rig setting up a virtual drum circle in their very living rooms. So pump up da juice and get ye down. Perhaps your significant other will free up her belly and shake some booty while you're at it? Worse things could happen to ailing audiophiles.
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