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Album Review

This hauntingly dark mix of Thai gongs, thunder sheet, Middle Eastern vocals, Turkish flute, (ney) and oboe, (zurna), djembes, darbuka, and more eclectic percussion sets the stage for Salome. Widely diverse, polyrhythmic, and at times minimalistic aural "breathings" are innovative sound tapestry for the Sydney Dance Company Production's choreography. Percussionists Askill and David Hewitt are joined by vocalist Omar Faruk Tekbilek in this intoxicatingly, eerie mix. Tekbilek plays the ney and zurna as well as assorted percussion. There are heavenly voices, solo voice, shouts, Salome's chant, and the strange speaking voice of King Herod on select tracks. This is not light-hearted nor wispy ballet music. This is modernistic, hedonistic, ritualistic, and a smothering score. It steadily builds in intensity as if to emulate the twisted passions Salome's dance brought forth long ago. Visions of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa pervade Askill's creation. We are carried in the score from John the Baptist in the wilderness and most grisly to "Salome with the head of John the Baptist." An emptiness covers the listener with the ghastly images evoked by Salome's mournful song to finish the dance of death. ~ John W. Patterson, Rovi


Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Australia-born Michael Askill is a master percussionist. In addition to being a founding member of influential, new age, ensemble, Synergy, and ethno-classical group, Southern Crossings, Askill has worked with numerous orchestras and small ensembles. Askill has held principal positions with the Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the A.E.T.T. Sydney Orchestra and has been a featured soloist with the Sydney, Queeensland and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras. Askill...
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