Beginning in the late '90s as half of the duo Vas (with percussionist Greg Ellis), one-third of the group Niyaz (with Loga Ramin Torkian and Carmen Rizzo), and on her own, Azam Ali quietly established a reputation as one of the purest, most captivating voices in world music. But Elysium for the Brave elevates Ali to a whole other level. The second solo album by the Iran-born, India-raised, L.A.-dwelling Ali is -- there's no subtle way to put it -- a masterwork, a stunningly whole, utterly fulfilling creation that forces a reconsideration not only of her own capabilities but of the inherent possibilities of the world fusion genre. Whereas Ali's previous work often verged on new age, its breathy gentleness alluring but ultimately limiting, on Elysium Ali -- who wrote the album's lyrics and co-produced it with Rizzo -- hurls herself into the void, allows creative vision to intervene and takes her vocal instrument to places it never before indicated it could go. Now singing some of her material in English, and further blurring the lines between traditional acoustic instrumentation and electronic synthetics, Ali interlaces the vocal and the instrumental, the new and the old, the spiritual and the erotic, into one seamlessly sewn quilt of atmospheres, textures, and unexpected, breathtaking leaps. Joined by the members of Niyaz, King Crimson's Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto, Persian classical violinist Kiavash Nourai, and others, Azam Ali has created a thing of beauty and wonder in Elysium for the Brave.
Performance CreditsAzam Ali Primary Artist,Vocals,Daff,Hammered Dulcimer,Zills,Frame Drum
Trey Gunn Guitar
Pat Mastelotto Drums,Tom-Tom
Carmen Rizzo Synthesizer,Keyboards
Tyler Bates Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Electric Guitar,Keyboards
Satnam Ramgotra Tabla
Omid Torbatian Ney
Loga Ramin Torkian Guitar,Violin,Electric Guitar
Technical CreditsTrey Gunn Composer
Carmen Rizzo Composer,Programming,Producer
Jeff Rona Composer,Producer
Tyler Bates Composer
Azam Ali Arranger,Composer,Producer
Loga Ramin Torkian Composer,Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Elysium for the Brave is the second solo album by gifted singer Azam Ali. Singing predominantly in English for the first time, the poetic and lyrical verses convey a haunting sense of emotion, longing, and anticipation. A singularly skilled cast of musicians complement Ali's singing with soft, melodic tracks they include King Crimson's rhythm section of trey Gun and Pat Mastellotto, Persian Classical violinist Kiavash Nourai, and film composers Tyler Bates and Jeff Rona, and the Iranian group Niyaz. The resulting mix of ancient and modern instrumentation transcends cultural limitations in a soothing synthesis. Elysium for the Brave is an especially beautiful and helpful CD to listen to while relaxing, meditating, or striving to reduce personal tension. The CD case includes the complete lyrics for the songs, and the CD tracks are Endless Reverie (5:47), Spring Arrives (5:17), In Other Worlds (6:07), Abode (5:59), Forty One Ways (6:09), The Tryst (6:07), From Heaven To Dust (4:18), I Am A Stranger In This World (7:24), and In The Divide (5:18). Highly recommended.
I first became aware of Azam Ali's music when I purchased Vaz "Feast of Silence." Her haunting voice, intermixed with Greg Ellis' elaborate percussion and the instruments of the other musicians captivated me. I next heard Azam Ali on XM radio one evening and went to her website, where I listened to "Elysium for the Brave." Again, I was drawn to her exquisite voice--the way it wove filigrees around the music impressed me with its ethereal tones. I will be adding "Elysium for the Brave" to my CD collection, and I recommend it to listeners who appreciate World Music.