African Heartbeat (W/Book)


aec.arm2144.2 6/24/08 New
$12.74 $14.99

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    African Heartbeat (W/Book) Arc Music

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Review Text Although Johnny Clegg's drummer Barry Van Zyl has previously put out albums of African music with a thick regional sound, African Heartbeat provides African concepts at their most primitive level. The sound is stripped down to just the percussion, and the performers stripped down to only Van Zyl himself. Instead of reproducing ethnic sounds directly, as he has done in the past, here Van Zyl picks and chooses bits and pieces of sounds and approaches from among the various musical styles of the region. However, it's more conceptual than musical here -- with only Van Zyl playing, the sound can become rather sparse. As he tries to maneuver through multiple incarnations of rain ideas, into "laid-back" versions of heavy urban beats, through sentimental passages that end in gong strikes, one can't ever quite be sure where he's going. For all of the skill shown in his previous albums, and more so with Johnny Clegg's band, this album ends up coming across as a university percussion ensemble project -- too cerebral and disconnected for something proclaiming itself as a heartbeat. ~ Adam Greenberg

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