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Eastern Path – downtempo isolation mix

April 13, 2020

We were asked to provide a mix for a radio show – ambient, classical, experimental. Here’s what we came up with.

1  Kemancheh – Moving Ninja
2  Outremer – Thousand Yard Prayer
3  Dawn Prayer – Dhafer Youssef
4  Eastern Path – Vangelis
5  Battle Remembered – Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble
6  Suriya – Jonas Hellborg
7  Palästinalied – Kalenda Maya

We open with Kemancheh by Moving Ninja. Some years back when I was first discovering dubstep, the folk music of my hometown Croydon, I was surprised to find tracks like this that were far away from the dancefloor and had some middle eastern influences. Genre labels can be so limiting and misleading.

We then move into one of our own, Outremer by Thousand Yard Prayer. This is built upon a simple Viola Da Gamba line playing an Arabian musical scale with some medieval frame drums, a Persian ney flute and some subtle Croydon post-dubstep bass wobble adding to the low end.

Tunisian born oud player and vocalist Dhafer Youssef then leads us into the exquisite Dawn Prayer. His music gets marketed as jazz but I’m not convinced. It is unique. Listen to that voice!

Next we head towards the world of film soundtracks with Eastern Path by Vangelis from the film Alexander. The duduk is one of the most expressive and melancholy instruments on the planet.

We continue to head east with Battle Remembered by Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. I’m not a huge fan of western classical music but I love to hear musicians from that world working with highly skilled musicians from other traditions.

Bassist Jonas Hellborg recorded Suriya live in Aleppo in 1996. The whole album, Aram of the Two Rivers, is beautiful and is another example of superb musicians from disparate traditions creating something transcendent.

I finish this mix with my favourite piece of medieval music, Palästinalied, here played by Kalenda Maya from their album Pilegrimreiser. I have a Spotify playlist with 42 versions of this tune, all sounding different. This is a particularly chilled rendition.

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