Dhafer Youssef Digital Prophecy

Dhafer Youssef has been performing in a North African, Sufi style since he was five years old. However, these days, this Tunisian-born/Vienna-based vocalist and oud player is more committed to the sound of global futurism as pioneered by Talvin Singh. On Digital Prophecy, the worlds of classical Hindustani music, jazz, electronic and his own tradition collide in a way that’s dialogical, harmonious and effortless. It’s also a little superfluous. The recording could often use more tension in the performers’ interactions and less programming in the mix. However, for those who can get past the deep soundscapes and William Orbit-like beats, the power behind Youssef’s voice is hard to deny. On pieces like "Aya,” "Ysamy” and "Dawn Prayer,” he moves from sharp cries of desperation to ultra-sustained utterances of elation. He’s much more restrained on the oud, except when in duet with flautist Ronu Majumdar (one of the senior disciples of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia). Together, the pair make for an unorthodox, yet very natural sounding, East-meets-East encounter. (Enja)