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Artist: Drum Dynasty
Title: Mystic Sunrise / Dark Continent
Genre: World Music / Ambient
Release Date: 2010
Label: Katavi Arts

Album Review

Going by the name alone you can guess the raison d'être of this band. Yes, ambient percussion based world music, the blending of Eastern and Western instruments to create a fusion of ethnic rhythms. New age meditation tapes and stock music libraries have been producing this kind of stuff for a long time - some of it good, some of it bad, and some of it cinematic in its scope. As a George Harrison fan I had to admit to being intrigued by this formula.

DRUM DYNASTY is good. But there is a lot that could be improved upon. The Eastern instruments at work on these two albums (re-released as a 2 disc box set) are brilliant. They feel organic and relaxing with a lot of attention paid to the traditional styles of playing. Where it falls down for me is, not in the use of Western instruments but how they are played. The often used jazz drumming is particularly invasive on tracks like ‘Kazi’ and ‘Dajari’ really detract from the simplistic beauty of the song. Other times the keyboard sounds used feel very dated which again detracts from the impact of the songs. However they sometimes get it spot on - ‘Mystic Sunrise’, ‘Dance of the 7 veils’ and ‘Damsels of the Brindiban’ are all fine examples of the fusion working and working well.

The ‘Dark Continent’ disc feels a little better rounded and not unlike the late 90s output of Enigma. Tracks like ‘Dark Continent’, ‘Katavari’, ‘Warfare’, ‘Khodomodumo’ and ‘Voodoo Rain’ are all very confident and well written tracks that favour the African instruments with additional atmosphere from the western ones. Where both albums fall down is the out-dated keyboard sounds, clashing Western / Eastern styles and a general cheap feel to the production. I think a lot of the shortcomings in the album could have been downplayed by a warmer and more ambient-emphasised mix. However if you’re looking for inspiration for songs with an eastern twist or some non-invasive music for film scores then this would be a safe bet.


Mystic Sunrise
01. Mystic Sunrise
02. Al Jabr
03. Anuket (Goddess of the Nile)
04. Kazi
05. Karma
06. Dance of the 7 Veils
07. Twenty Drawings
08. Sandstorm
09. Dajari
10. Damsels of Brindiban
11. Abraxas
12. Nine Tomorrows
13. Nectar of Rasa
14. Masalama

Dark Continent
01. Dark Continent
02. Middle Passage
03. Posessed
04. Katavi
05. Hemiola
06. Warfare
07. Khodomodumo
08. Rainmaker
09. Voodoo Rain
10. Shango
11. Dance of the Flies
12. Fanga Alafyia
13. Santeria
14. Song for Elegua


Bruce Burgess
Kevin Christensen
Marco Zonka
Arturo Rodriguez


Cover Picture


Music: 6
Sound: 6
Extras: -
Total: 6 / 10


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