At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Robert Christgau Word of the Day

ul·u·late intr.v. ul·u·lat·ed, ul·u·lat·ing, ul·u·lates To howl, wail, or lament loudly. (

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Intoxicated Spirit [Shanachie, 1996]

Look, it's simple. Do you want Michael Brook strumming and arranging and practicing right reason, or do you want the most awesome singer in the known universe manifesting his proximity to the divine for your voyeuristic delectation? Whatever rules apply to anyone else--Brook has done handsomely by Cheb Khaled, and most virtuosos should damn well hone their inspirations in the studio before bestowing them on the marketplace--don't apply to Nusrat. This album grabbed me not just because it's uncut--four unfaded tracks lasting 23, 24, 12, and 14 minutes--but because its Sufi ecstasy runs so close to the surface, far wilder than on RealWorld's equally uncut The Last Prophet. Students of song form may want to try Devotional and Love Songs, its harmonium and percussion augmented by a mandolinist-guitarist less distracting than Michael Brook. Me, I'll stick with Nusrat and his boys galloping off into the stratosphere--his wails, his flights, his tongue twisters, his ululations, his naming party for God. A- (


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