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CD Review: Jef Stott - "Saracen"

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Artist: Jef Stott
Album: Saracen
Label: Six Degrees Records
Release Date: 04/22/2008

Listen to "Lamaset (Miami Mix)":

Jef Sott is the multiimstrumentalist cofoundeder of SF-based bands Lumin and Stellamara - Saracen is his first full-length solo effort. Featuring his virtuosity on Arab and Turkish lutes, Stott plays everything on this album:hammered dulcimer, bass, synth, and layers and layers of hand percussion. There are some excellent Persian and Arabic vocals by MC RAI, Reda Darwish, and Hooman Fazly. It should be noted that Stott focuses on Turkish and Arabic rhythms, a deviation from the emphasis on Indian tablas that is nearly ubiquitous in dance and ambient music.

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If you enjoy Banco de Gaia and Transglobal Underground then you will enjoy Saracen. The sample track, "Lamaset" (above) is a great example of what Stott offers. There are a few trance-y tunes on the album (like "Ashk" and others) but the true gems are the more energetic tunes: "Sonos", "Medina Stepper", and "Blissm'lah" which has a great, nearly junglism twist. The record closes with a very spacey pseudo-dub track, "Aegean Dub", that I'm not so sure was necessary - must we always feel mellowed out after listening to world trance music? Why not uppity and motivated? Still, this is an audacious debut, I'm hoping to hear a lot more from Stott in the future.