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Rare Elements - Omar Faruk Tebilek

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Album Review

Some electronica enthusiasts will tell you that a recording isn't really electronica unless everything is programmed from start to finish, but such thinking is dogmatic. Truth be told, electronica can still be electronica even if it incorporates acoustic instruments — and artists who aren't really part of electronica per se can be used for electronica purposes if the right mixologist is involved. That's what happens on Rare Elements, which finds ten different remixers turning their attention to the recordings of Turkish multi-instrumentalist Omar Faruk Tekbilek. Although Tekbilek's contemporary Middle Eastern/Turkish/Sufi music isn't electronica per se, it certainly acquires a lot of electronica appeal on Rare Elements. Remixers like Joe Claussell, Tommie Sunshine, Junior Sanchez, and Cheb i Sabbah approach Tekbilek's work as club/dance music — and in most cases, the remixers successfully give him electronica makeovers without making him sound any less Middle Eastern. Electronic club/dance beats and Tekbilek's traditional acoustic instruments (including the Turkish ney) have no problem coexisting on these remixes; Rare Elements demonstrates that electronica can, in fact, incorporate acoustic instruments and still sound like electronica. Of course, what one hears on Rare Elements doesn't reflect the exact visions that Tekbilek originally had for these songs; remixes, by their very nature, are about interpretation rather than emulation. And some of Tekbilek's fans — at least the ones who don't have a taste for clubland electronica — will no doubt want to stick to the original versions. But for Tekbilek fans who do appreciate clubland electronica, Rare Elements is worth hearing. This 2009 release isn't among Tekbilek's essential albums, but it is intriguing more often than not and shows that there is no reason why world music and electronica cannot be allies.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A Turkish composer and instrumentalist, Omar Faruk Tekbilek later moved to New York. He collaborated with guitarist Brian Keane on three albums, Suleyman the Magnificent Sdtrk., Firedance and Beyond the Sky. Tekbilek has also worked with Michael Askill on Fata Morgana and has released a solo album of Middle Eastern fusion called Whirling. One Truth followed...
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Rare Elements - Omar Faruk Tebilek, Omar Faruk Tebilek
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