Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Semi-Classic Album of the Week #8: "Serart"

"Serart" (2003)

It's easy to like world music, but often difficult to get really enthusiastic about it. Listening to music in foreign tongues and tones, after all, helps us build a kinship with the human race and makes us feel cultured to boot. But it's difficult to deny the perspective barrier between an artist a hemisphere away and the listener picking up her LP on a whim. Ergo, the the thrill of exploring new cultures and sounds often subsides long before you take the disc back to the library.

But Serart is folk music unlike any other, a collaboration between famed Armenian musician Arto Tunçboyacıyan and fully half of the members of System of a Down (SoaD singer Serj Tankian, along with Arto, forms the body of the group while Shavo provided samples). It celebrates culture and heritage while including modern elements and compositions that you won't find in folk music. It's a soulful, intelligent album that understands dissonance and melody, well-written and produced without being too glossy. Arto gives the project focus without repressing Serj's natural tendencies to squawk and use dissonance, and not even the dance elements and samples feel out of place.

Link to my crappy yet well-read review from nearly four years ago.

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