Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali: A Better Destiny [RealWorld, 2001]
You bet I A-shelved The Rough Guide to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Music Club's Ecstasy even better. Nevertheless, my basic attitude toward the prolific late great is enough already: We atheists need only so much Allah, and a little marginal differentiation helps the Sufism go down. I didn't notice the first two albums by this group, led by two more of Nusrat's numberless nephews, and I might like the first, by the label's account "traditional" rather than the "hypnotic fusion" of the Count Dubulah-aided follow-up. But when I grabbed this one blind, I had a reconversion experience. Even by qawwali standards Rizwan and Muazzam have big voices--rival nephew Rahat is distressingly reedy by comparison. They're at once more forceful and more eccentric than fraternal competitors the Sabri Brothers. And they're also lively, leaping higher and crazier than nephew Basrat on his latest speed-qawwali venture, the imaginatively titled Lost in Qawwali III. A-