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The Hour of Two Lights

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Album Review

It seems like every few years Terry Hall pops up in some new outfit, puts out an album or two, then moves on to the next project. This time he's teamed up with Mushtaq, former DJ for Fun^Da^Mental, for a cross-cultural, strongly Middle Eastern-flavored pop album. As a touchstone, it's similar to Natacha Atlas' music, but with less emphasis on the dancefloor. Given Hall's detached delivery style, it might seem like a strange fit with the passion that generally accompanies Arabic music, but the amazing thing is how well it actually works. While the album has an Arabic feel overall, there are some interesting additional touches, like the scratching and reggae feel of "Ten Eleven" (co-written by Damon Albarn) or the almost-ska of "A Tale of Woe" with its Morricone-esque piano. "Sticks and Stones" has some cool beats and a queasy melody loop with English and Arabic vocals trading off on the same melody. Terry Hall took quite a chance on this one, doing something unlike anything in his catalog and pulling it off without a hitch. Well done.

The Hour of Two Lights, Terry Hall & Mushtaq
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