Lebanese classical violinist Claude Chalhoub makes a music born of global fusion and sonic experimentation.
Lebanese classical violinist Claude Chalhoub makes a music born of global fusion and sonic experimentation. Collaborating with producer Michael Brook—who previously worked atmospheric wonders with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Djivan Gasparyan—Chalhoub fuses Middle Eastern melodies with Indian rhythms and often surreal ambiences on an album teaming with sensuality. "Red Desert" is a cinematic expanse with Jason Lewis' drums pounding rivets into the tabla rhythms of Kuljit Bahmra. Chalhoub's violin sings in improvised lines, backed by a string octet. On "Baddour," Chalhoub intertwines his violin with Qawaali singer Forroukh Fateh Ali Khan (brother of Nusrat), processed so he sounds like he is emanating from a speaker atop a temple minaret. "Don't Wake Up" mixes tango and Bollywood strings. Chalhoub and Brook eschew the conventional ethno-techno formulas for something that confronts as much as it envelopes.—JD