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Azigza — ...Whose Portals are Night and Day
((Not on label) no#, 1999, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 1999-11-01

...Whose Portals are Night and Day Cover art

Azigza was the big surprise of Progfest ‘99, playing an intense show in the lobby that attracted a lot of spectators. Their sound is typified by a fusion of progressive rock and Eastern world music elements; the seven-piece line-up includes three percussionists, guitar, violin, bass, and vocals. The percussion also includes djembe, dumbek, and tabla, and the mantric patterns they set up are hypnotic and spellbinding, providing an exotic backdrop for the lead instrumentation. The violin adds a great dimension to the band’s sound and is often the frontal melody in the instrumental sections. Cyoakha’s voice may take a bit of getting used to; she is powerful and assured, but probably the least consonant element of the band tapestry. This mini CD is a good introduction to their sound, although the band has gained much in chemistry since this recording. “Friends” is more representative of their more infrequent song-styled material, although still containing the Eastern percussion; it sounds like a combination of Oriental Wind, Shakti, Kolinda, and Comus. Instrumental “Ratsanitza” also has Celtic influences in the violin playing and is a great piece, with the CD’s first overt guitar presence, a nice modal solo similar to Ozric Tentacles. It’s here that the band’s Gong influences begin to filter in, although the connection is superficially apparent with Daevid Allen’s presence on “Petra” (although the CD does not indicate in what way he participates), the sacred and somber feel captivating and intense. “Edallah” closes the set, a piece that continues in Eastern scaling, almost like a cross between Embryo and Aktuala, a melody that moves through rapid drumming and trade-offs between guitar and violin. An excellent EP, I'm looking forward to hearing more from this up-and-comer.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 18, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Azigza

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