Portraits In Sound
I can honestly say that though I haven't necessarily enjoyed every release World Domination has put out, I have always respected their choices, as the label never seems to pick bands based on perceived commercial potential, relying instead on such vague parameters as "taste" and "originality." Portraits In Sound, a compilation of music from around the globe, is a perfect example. This is the first such foray into this field by World Domination, yet compilers Doré Stein and Mehdi Ahmadi have done an outstanding job in selecting tracks that are not only out of the ordinary heavily-touristed path, but incredibly rich and engaging. Yussi and Django (from Los Angeles) present a mind-blowing mix of incendiary Flamenco guitar and percussion. And Yaqub Zoroofchi's "San Siz" uses the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra to provide a haunting background to his heart-wrenchingly beautiful melody and powerful tenor voice -- it's one of those tracks that I can play over and over again.
A lot of the music here comes off the beaten path, and though you'll find plenty of world music staples like sitar and Andean pan pipes, there is a lot of unexplored territory -- santur? Persian taar? -- that widens your horizons without aggressively challenging your notions of music. Pick this up and find out why the U.S. music industry, despite its platinum albums and stadium tours, is just a drop in the bucket. World Domination Records, 3575 Cahuenga Blvd. W., Suite 450, Los Angeles, CA 90068; http://imusic.com/worlddom