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Nomad *

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  • Sainkho Namtchylak celebrated her 50th anniversary in 2007 and, for the occasion, the avant-garde jazz/free improvisation label Leo Records did what probably no one else would have done: release a career-encompassing compilation album. You see, Namtchylak is a highly versatile artist, with activities ranging from extremely abstract experimental music to more straightforward jazz and soothing world music. The woman is well known on the world music circuit for her throat singing, and also respected in free improvisation circles for her use of extended techniques and her collaborations with Evan Parker and the Moscow Composers Orchestra. And most fans of one facet of her work are unaware of her other activities. Nomad brings it all together for a portrait that is still incomplete and imperfect, yet broader and much more representative than anything else on the market. Her worldbeat-type work is represented by three selections from Arzhaana (an album bordering on new age music) and another from the recent release Who Stole the Sky Her jazzier side is highlighted by a marvelous piece from her Leo release Letters and a previously unreleased performance with Daniel Klemmer, Karl Seyer and Uli Soyka. Excerpts from Aura cover her free improvisation activities, here featured in interaction with Peter Kowald, Vladimir Tarasov and Vladimir Volkov. Finally, peppered throughout the track list are short voice solos highlighting her phenomenal vocal technique and range. These are unclassifiable, as they belong as much to traditional Tuvan throat singing than to pure experimental soundmaking. All tracks have been edited into a smoothly flowing, cross-fading suite that makes this aural journey particularly easy to follow and appreciate. A must have for fans curious to know what is happening on the other side of Namtchylak's fence -- and the obligatory starting point for newcomers. ~ Fran‡ois Couture
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