Combining middle-eastern sounds with glitchy electronics is nothing entirely new. Sebastian Meissner under his Random Inc. moniker as well as Ran Slavin already proved that computers and traditional music from the middle east go well together. And Austria?s Thilges provide another fine example of how traditional middle eastern music and modern western styles can benefit from each other.
Compared to Random Inc and Ran Slavin, ?La Double Absence? is quite different though. Less experimental than the two aforementioned composers, Thilges take traditional Afghan, Persian and Arabic music and only accompanies them with electronic elements. The center of ?La Double Absence? is the composition and texture. Thilges write songs, a lot of them with vocals. The vocals are provided by Zohreh Jooya, according to the label info a well known Afghan singer. Another key player on ?La Double Absence? is Asim Al-Chalab whose Oud playing is central to the ambiance of most of the songs on the album. Especially the Oud playing gives them its incredibly dense texture. Thilges are best when the tracks have enough room to build this texture, like on ?Hig? or the album ender ?Hijaz On D?. And Thilges also prove once again that non-Western music combined with electronics doesn?t have to sound like all those tacky and bland Chill Out compilations that you hear at Starbucks all the time. A worthy addition to the Staubgold catalogue. 7/10 -- Stephan Bauer (9 May, 2007)