Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Orüj Güvenç & Tümata: Ocean of Remembrance [Interworld, 1995]
Guvenc is a clinical psychologist, practicing musicologist, and Sufi sheik who heads his own department of music therapy at a med school in Istanbul. He's also a warm, intent, unvirtuosic, spiritually contained singer who plays ney (a flute), oud (a lute), and rebab (a three-stringed fiddle). He and his three associates recorded these six pieces during a blizzard in western Massachusetts while fasting for Ramadan. All six are zhikrs, recitations of God's names. Their distinct rhythms are mesmeric rather than exciting, and while they're not the healing music that is Guvenc's lifework, I can testify that they helped get me through a 101-degree fever--and that I love them when I'm straight as well. Sample-ready: the chanted breaths that take over "Allah, Allah, Allah" about 10 minutes in. A