Duoud / Wild Serenade
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DuOud
Wild Serenade
Label Bleu

cd cover Wild Serenade is both a beguiling and a frustrating recording. The band's core are two oud players, Mehdi Haddab, and Jean-Pierre Smadja (Smadj), who also adds computer beats mostly on the order of contemporary drum 'n' bass.

Wild Serenade offers a complex barrage of influences: Algerian/African rhythms meet jazz and electronics head-on. Throughout the mix, a number of guest musicians round out DuOud's sound; the heavy metal guitar of Pierre Fruchard is particularly notable. Unfortunately, the overall impression is that many of the tracks simply blend together. This is not electronica of the 'chill' variety, but rather challenging and abstract in its execution. The best tunes often are the slower tracks. Smadj's "Zanzibar" is enjoyable because the tune has more space in which to enjoy the sound of the oud, and the stuttering rhythm is perfectly employed. Amongst the more uptempo songs, DuOud offer a version of "Chase" (the theme from 'Midnight Express'), which is remixed at the end of the CD by Giorgio Moroder into a Middle Eastern club track.

At times, Wild Serenade struck me as a Middle Eastern answer to Miles Davis' epic On the Corner; the composition "Racine d'Enneade" even reminded me of Davis' Decoy era. It is odd, then, that DuOud failed to grab me, but rather served best as aural wallpaper. - Lee Blackstone

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