Lumin - Ketri
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*Balkan breaks & middle-eastern moods
"Pushing the limits of world music."
--The San Francisco Examiner
"Melodies that reach across the heavens and into the soul."
-- John Diliberto, Echoes (NPR)
Lumin is a band that fuses the strengths of three highly individual talents: vocalist Irina Mikhailova, formerly with organic trance act Medicine Drum and a solo artist in her own right, brings her classical training in opera and middle eastern vocals, a love of the folk and gypsy songs of Eastern Europe and her native Kazakhstan, and many a night spent at an outdoor dance gathering. Multi-instrumentalist and producer Jef Stott, currently signed to Six Degrees Records and with a full album due next Spring, brings a sensitive touch to the oud, saz, dulcimer, yali tambur, and other instruments of the mid-east, while also contributing with software, synths, and beat programming. Producer and remixer Michael Emenau (anoher 6 Degrees artist) brings crisp production and a breakbeat sensibility to the music, working on the electronic arrangements to support the traditional melodies. The entire album was mixed at the final stage by Dakini Records artist Toires, a French producer of phat North African dub-funk, who brings a refined sense of space and clarity to the album.
"Ketri" is Lumin's 3rd album and first for Dakini (although their Dakini debut was with the track "Lycian Way" on last year's "Tribal Matrix" comp.) Their first album "Datura" explored deep ethno-ambient moods, while their 2nd album "Hadra" saw them move in an ethno-drum-n-bass direction; this album became a favorite on California's tribal bellydance scene, and gathered heavy airplay on national radio program "Echoes" on NPR. "Ketri" is a further exploration of that world-meets-club sound, but moving in many directions at once. Explosive drum-n-bass compositions like "Izgrala" and "Tashto" will be familiar to fans of "Hadra", but the album explores hypno-dub-trance with "Gostiki", sultry downtempo with "Ketri" and "Napali", and absolutely original stylings like the Balkan electro of "Dimcho", the 7-beat tabla-breaks of "Lycian Way", and the haunting, mysterious closing track "Rusalki".
Throughout the album, Irina takes traditional Balkan, Russian, and Turkish songs and shapes them to her unique vocal style, ranging from the full-throated power of "Heyamo" to the gentle, almost whispered "Rusalki". Supporting the vocals are intricate, wisely chosen arrangements of many different instruments, like Turkish oud and yali tambour, middle-eastern percussion like bendir and darbukka, hammer dulcimer, and Indian tabla and tamboura. And the electronic arrangements --unlike so much of the "world beats" dreck out there -- have been produced by people who know what's happening with the vocals and instruments. The result, an album of power, beauty, and original expression, full of timeless melodies and absolutely modern production.