Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Following the huge success of the previous albums Eternal Egypt, Immortal Egypt and Enchanted Egypt, Phil Thornton and Hossam Ramzy crown the trilogy with Egypt Unveiled, a magnificent album that echoes both the majesty and the mystery of the pyramids.
Personnel: Phil Thornton (didjeridu, keyboards); Hossam Ramzy (piano, percussion); Cairo Street Rappers (vocals); Hazem Shaheen (oud); Maged Sorour, Ali Shaker (qanoun); Mohamed Ali (violin, electric violin); Abdalla Helmy (nay); Grant Young (fretless bass).
Audio Mixers: Phil Thornton; Hossam Ramzy.
Liner Note Authors: Diz Heller; Phil Thornton; Hossam Ramzy.
Recording information: Cornett Studio, Cairo, Egypt; Drumzy Studio, West Sussex, UK; Expandibubble Studio, East Sussex, UK; Giza, Egypt; Jersey City; Wave Studio, Giza, Egypt.
Translators: Diz Heller; Jeannine Blanpain.
Arrangers: Phil Thornton; Hossam Ramzy.
Hossam Ramzy and Phil Thornton have had an ongoing collaboration for years, melding Thornton's new age bent with Ramzy's Arabian (and really, Western percussion) skills. On Egypt Unveiled, Ramzy and Thornton's first outing for Ramzy's ARC label, the pair recruited a set of fine musicians in Cairo and powered through some modern music with an Arabian feel. There are hints of synthesized rai strings in pieces like "Pharaohniest," wild wailings of mizmars in "Planet Egypt," and a thick rock beat returning from time to time across the songs. This isn't authentic, traditional music -- but it isn't meant to be, either. Perhaps surprisingly, the artists show some restraint in the compositions, utilizing excellent players but avoiding the squishier areas of new age that ethnic crossover albums are so susceptible to. There's perhaps nothing particularly new in the album (especially considering the Ramzy/Thornton collaborations of the past), but it's a fine atmospheric listen nonetheless. ~ Adam Greenberg