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Strange Days

by Natacha Atlas

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    High quality, 180 gram, 12" 2x Gatefold LP (4 sides of music - A, B, C, D) - comes with download code containing the digital album in multiple formats

    Includes unlimited streaming of Strange Days via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    edition of 1000 
    Purchasable with gift card

      $9 USD or more 

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    High quality, 6 panel digifile with a velvety soft-touch laminate finish & 12 page booklet with lyrics in both England and Arabic

    Includes unlimited streaming of Strange Days via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $2.50 USD or more 

     

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Comes with album artwork booklet PDF + album cover photo as a jpg
    Purchasable with gift card

      $10 USD  or more

     

1.
Out of Time 05:41
2.
Maktoub 05:19
3.
Min Baad 06:32
4.
5.
Sunshine Day 04:05
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Moonchild 05:50

about

PERSONNEL

Natacha Atlas - voice (tracks 1-10) backing vocals (tracks 2 & 7), electronics and sound design (track 10)
Samy Bishai - violin (tracks 1-10), viola (tracks 1-3, 6) electric guitar (tracks 5 & 10), backing vocals (tracks 2 & 10), electronics & sound design (tracks 2&10)
Hayden Powell - trumpet (tracks 1, 2, 4 & 8), flugelhorn (tracks 5 & 10)
Robinson Khoury - trombone (tracks 2, 4, 5, 8 & 10)
Alcyona Mick - piano (tracks 1 9)
Andy Hamill - double bass (tracks 1-9)
Asaf Sirkis - drums (tracks 1, 3, 4-6)
Laurie Lowe - drums (tracks 2, 7 & 8)

Guests
Joss Stone - voice, bvs (8)
Tanya Wells - voice (7), bvs (5, 7, 8)
Sofiane Saidi - voice (6), bvs (2 & 6)
Idris Rahman - tenor sax (2, 5 & 8), clarinet & bass clarinet (10), flute (5 & 10)
Paulo Vinicius - acoustic guitar (5)
Oli Savill - percussion (5)
Vasilis Sarikis - percussion (9),
Oli Langford - violin (2, 3, 5, 8-10)
Vincent Greene - viola (2, 3, 5, 8-10)
Ivan Hussey - cello (2, 3, 5, 8-10),
Emma Smith, Jennymay Logan, Stephen Hussey, Gillon Cameron, Sally
Jackson - violin (9)
Mandy Drummond - viola (9)
Chris Worsey - cello (9)

ALBUM CREDITS

Recorded/Engineered at Eastcote Studios, London by George Murphy
Stoneroom Studios, Gascony France by Samy Bishai
Studio Kuroneko, Paris by Ludovic Joyeux
ChederRecords Studio, Uberlandia, Brazil by Rodrigo Nepomuceno
Mixed by Samy Bishai & Ludovic Joyeux at Studio Kuroneko
Mastered by Jon Astley at Close to the Edge
Produced by Samy Bishai
Executive Producer Michael Janisch
Original design - Atlas/Bishai & Nabil Bishai
Graphic Design - Monika S Jakubowska
Photography - Samir Bahrir

credits

released October 4, 2019

ABOUT THE ALBUM

There’s something extraordinary happening when musical cultures and genres merge to create new atmospheres, described as “thesis + antithesis = synthesis” by the fascinating Anglo-Egyptian partnership of vocalist Natacha Atlas and violinist, composer/arranger and producer Samy Bishai. Atlas’s discography speaks of a solo artist who continually explores and develops her route through music, also collaborating with names including Jean-Michel Jarre and Peter Gabriel; and her arrival at large-scale project and album Strange Days marks a significant, visionary shift.

“Some years ago”, recalls Atlas, “Samy’s considerable skills were brought to my attention, leading us to work closely together. As my musical director and compositional partner, his strong jazz and classically-trained background have transformed my electro-acoustic Arabic sound in a way I couldn’t imagine.” The connection is natural – each born to an Egyptian father and a British mother – though their respective upbringing gave them different experiences of Eastern and Western cultures. But both felt drawn to the idea of combining Arabic scales and textures with the changes and harmonic language of jazz. “Arabic music has parallels with Indian and Persian classical music, for example” explains Bishai. “But, different as it all is, there are astonishingly similar axiomatic points, notably improvisation; and though characteristics such as quarter tones aren’t part of Western harmony, the flexibility of jazz enables amazing integration.”

A broad personnel is wholly attuned to their concept – at its core, pianist Alcyona Mick, bassist Andy Hamill, drummers Laurie Lowe and Asaf Sirkis, trumpeter Hayden Powell and trombonist Robinson Khoury. Alongside the strings and Oli Savill's percussion that are central to this unique, balanced fusion of jazz and Arabic music come guest appearances from reedsman Idris Rahman, guitarist Paulo Vinícius and vocalists Joss Stone, Tanya Wells and Sofiane Saidi.

Metaphorical, dystopian themes abound as the swirling jazz mystery of ‘Out of Time’ unveils Atlas’s vocal fluency and inflection, while spirited ‘Maktoub’ (‘that which is written’) bounces with infectious hip-hop and Tsifteteli rhythms, portamento strings and choral unison. Lush, romantic ‘Min Baad’ (‘from this moment on’) has aching sorrow at its heart, while the undulating bass and horn riffs of ‘All the Madness’ lay a foundation for glittering piano improv and Atlas’s floating lines.

In ‘Sunshine Day’, dreamy Brazilian rhythm guitar and strings conjur pastel-tinted ‘60s movie soundtrack, Gismonti, Jobim… all reflecting Atlas’s notion “the sun washes the sins of humanity away”. Darkly enigmatic ‘Lost Revolutions’ nods to seminal Arabic composer Zad Moltaka before serenely-ornamented ‘Inherent Rhythm’ leads to soulful, post-hip-hop sashay ‘Words of a King’ (referencing Martin Luther King and Jacques Fresco), featuring a gliding vocal duo with Joss Stone. James Brown classic ‘It’s a Man’s World’ is unexpectedly interpreted in smoky, sensual film noir (hear those strings); and impressionistic reverie ‘Moonchild’ pays homage to incisive poet Kate Tempest.

“Strange Days is a culmination of what I want to express through music – my hybridity and duality between the Middle East and Europe, in all its facets”, affirms Atlas. “We are blessed with these musicians, combining everything we love about jazz and Arabic music.”

PRESS HIGHLIGHTS


"It has the air of a paranoid nightclub, Atlas’s trademark microtonal flutter drifting like the smoke in a Herman Leonard photo over Alcyona Mick’s piano and Samy Bishai’s strings."
★★★★ Financial Times

"A powerful and intriguing album with an international band, beautifully recorded... A highly individual vocalist stretching herself musically with some top-class musical support."
London Jazz News

"A strong blend of two authentic musical styles."
★★★★ Songlines Magazine

"Atlas delivers a refined musical experience, one that encourages revealing in the most meditative parts of the human imagination."
DownBeat Magazine

"A sophisticated meeting of jazz and Arabic music."
Jazzma

"Simply let the sounds wash over, and luxuriate in the beautiful songs crafted on this rather unique album."
Jazz Views

"A first rate group of British (jazz) musicians spice up the jazz harmonies with Arabic melodies and riffs and blur the style boundaries in a completely natural way."
Sydsvenskan

"In [Natacha’s] melting voice, the Arabic elements are flush, like a caress, and her swing has pep."
Telerama

"On 'Strange Days', Natacha Atlas, the Belgian singer with Moroccan, Egyptian and English influences, mixes jazz and oriental melodies with her golden voice, combining the two musics of her soul."
Marie France

"The astonishing Natacha Atlas plunges resolutely and happily into the jazz world by inserting Arabic elements into the heart of songs she sings."
Paris Capitale

"With superb meditative ballads, ‘Strange Days’ songs tell of the world’s uncertainties."
The Atlas Courier

‘It's just beautiful and grand music, whatever the label, and we love it."
Alsace

“Strange Days is a tale of remarkable modern jazz."
FIP

"Something extraordinary happens when cultures and the musical genres merge to create new atmospheres."
France Musique

"Atlas continues in any case in a significantly more jazz [...] in intimate restraint, a register more posed, even if the arabic-electroacoustic remains a touch felted."
DNA

"After years consolidating her position amongst the greats of Arabic music, as a 21st century Fairuz or Warda, Natacha Atlas has reinvented herself as a creative and brave jazz artist. It is not pure jazz, and it’s not simply Arabic jazz."
Get Into This

"[Strange Days] has to be heard to really appreciate how wonderfully unique it is."
Spalding Today

“Atlas’s voice is definitely an acquired taste. Yet it’s also a dramatic instrument that may just be forging a new genre.”
Jazz Journal

"I get the impression that Atlas has not yet shown us all of her skills – this album is a blessing!"
★★★★ Written in Music

"Perhaps the world would be less divided if people could listen to and appreciate musical fusions, such as Atlas’ compositions, which aptly represent the universality of great artistic expressions."
Inside Arabia

"Natacha Atlas has always been predestined for surprises... Strange Days is a fascinating album."
Image Hifi Magazine

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Natacha Atlas Egypt

The Whirlwind Artist Page for singer-songwriter, producer and composer Natacha Atlas.

"After years consolidating her position amongst the greats of Arabic music, as a 21st century Fairuz or Warda, Natacha Atlas has reinvented herself as a creative and brave jazz artist."
Get Into This
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