The Final Studio Recordings

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
With hundreds of CDs to his credit, both pirated and legitimate, Pakistan's devotional singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was one of the world's biggest stars at the time of his death in 1997. Although he was only 49, Nusrat was acclaimed the greatest voice of qawwali -- as the Sufi vocal music of Pakistan is known -- of his generation, perhaps of all time. His work had begun to penetrate the Western music world as well, thanks to the popularity of remixes, and his appearances on Peter Gabriel's Passion soundtrack and alongside Eddie Vedder on the soundtrack to Dead Man Walking. The latter found Khan signed to Rick Rubin's American Recordings, as well as in the studio ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
With hundreds of CDs to his credit, both pirated and legitimate, Pakistan's devotional singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was one of the world's biggest stars at the time of his death in 1997. Although he was only 49, Nusrat was acclaimed the greatest voice of qawwali -- as the Sufi vocal music of Pakistan is known -- of his generation, perhaps of all time. His work had begun to penetrate the Western music world as well, thanks to the popularity of remixes, and his appearances on Peter Gabriel's Passion soundtrack and alongside Eddie Vedder on the soundtrack to Dead Man Walking. The latter found Khan signed to Rick Rubin's American Recordings, as well as in the studio recording with the legendary producer of the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC shortly before his death. But have no fear, reverence pervades The Final Studio Recordings -- a straight-up performance of traditional poetry by Khan and Party. By the time of his death, Nusrat was ailing, and no amount of producer savvy can hide the relatively subdued performance; Khan chooses his targets, unleashing the white-hot vocal dynamics sparingly. Coinciding with the release of his nephew and successor Rahat's solo album, the Final Recordings are an ideal springboard for the younger vocalist. On the whole, this a Khan Party album as much as a Nusrat release, and the ensemble playing of these masters is dazzling at the least. For devotées of the mighty Khan, the Final Studio Recordings should be indispensable -- new listeners to qawwali will still want to seek out Rahat's album or Nusrat in his prime to complete the portrait presented on The Final Studio Recordings.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Pakistan's qawwali maestro, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, passed away from complications due to chronic diabetes in August of 1997. Earlier that year, Ali Khan signed a contract with Rick Rubin's American Recordings and entered the studio, completing in July what would be his final album. This double CD represents the complete "finished" recordings of Ali Khan. There may be outtakes, there may be alternate takes, and so on, but given the unbelievably shoddy nature of the package -- inexcusable given an artist of this stature -- totally devoid of liner notes with the exception of credits no session details, like dates, circumstances, etc., it is likely we'll never know. Perhaps the best thing we can say about Rick Rubin's production on this set is that there isn't any, apart from engineer and recordist David Schiffman. The engineering is wonderful, every nuance of Nusrat and his company are picked up with stunning clarity and depth -- including physical placement of bodies, voices, and instruments. From the session photographs, everything was set according to performance standards with rugs ordered all through the room and everyone seated there as well. Judging only from the photos of Ali Khan, he wasn't well, but photographs can be deceiving. Musically, however, this is easily the finest studio recording Ali Khan ever issued. His range is wider than ever, and his command of musical ideas, tempo, and vocal improvisation is tremendous. The "party" as his backing musicians were called, was in fine, relaxed form -- not always the case on his studio sessions -- with nephews Rahat and Farroukh as his side singers and Rahat Ali on harmonium and Dildair Hussein on tabla, with a chorus or choir backing the three principal singers. The songs themselves are from antiquity, from Rumi to poets and composers from the qawwali lineage who have long since passed into the ether of history. No matter. Ali Khan uses the frameworks of these poems and songs to carry them into a long, unbroken chain of passionate prayer, ecstatic contemplation, and whirling intensity as is common among the Sufi sect of Islam dating from the time of the Sahra singers some 700 years ago. Eight selections over two discs covering over two hours may seem like a short program especially given the availability of a five-hour Paris concert, but it is one of intensity -- raw, direct, and full of sacred energy. Only the responsorial singing of the choir and the droning repetition of the harmonium hold the cascading tones of Ali Khan's improvisations to the earth. Hussein's tabla, both of the side singers and Nusrat, head for the space beyond space in a moving, soul-stirring performance that, in spite of the exotic nature of its foreignness to most American ears, is on a level with the very finest in the gospel tradition for its purity, rousing choruses, and heart-rending emotion. The qawwali singing that Nusrat brought to the world, with its percussive vocal stylings, soaring heights, and cavernous passions for union with the Divine are well served by his final sessions, and they make an excellent introduction sonically -- remember the package basically sucks in terms of information -- to Nusrat's immeasurable transcultural contribution to the musical arts. They are virtually indispensable to fans of the late master's work. Stunning.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/12/2001
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 074646990025
  • Catalog Number: 69900
  • Sales rank: 97,613

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Primary Artist, Vocals
Dildar Hussain Tabla
Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan Background Vocals
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Background Vocals
Rahmat Ali Harmonium
Technical Credits
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Arranger
David Coleman Art Direction
David Daoud Coleman Art Direction
Rick Rubin Producer
David Schiffman Engineer
Michael Simpson Packaging Manager
Baba Varma Executive Producer
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