CMJ (6/26/00, p.32) - "...As far as genre-bending world music fusions go, this is a true success."
Third Planet: Nazar (vocals, saaz); Smail Kouider Aissa (keyboards, background vocals); Maurizio Dami (keyboards, programming); Rashmi V. Bhatt (tablas, background vocals); Paolo Casu (percussion).
Additional personnel: Barzan Jasin (saaz, def); Osmar Serkar (ney, duduk, def); Boliwar Miranda (flute).
This is the debut recording from The Third Planet for the Hearts of Space label. With members residing on several continents, The Third Planet is an unlikely collision of musical forms and expressions. Nazar, hailing from Iraq, is the lead vocalist and saaz (a guitar-like instrument) player. Maurizio Dami plays keyboards and serves as producer on the album. Other members come from such diverse locales as Italy, India, and Algeria.
"Mektoub" bounces from the get-go in a laid-back syncopated style that suggests a Saharan reggae. "Baghdad Rai" brings Algerian street music into a whole new captivating light. "Esmer" closes the album with pitch-shifting keyboards and lyrics that spill out in a funky drawl. A remarkable melding of Middle Eastern-flavored rhythms and instrumentation, The Third World's self-titled debut is an energetic, boundary-dissolving feat.