Boomkat Product Review:
**Double gatefold CD edition of this sought after collection** Legendary Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid is the venerable subject of Sublime Frequencies' latest CD release, providing a dazzling 18-track insight to one of the most progressive Arabic musicians of the late 20th century. Born in Cairo, 1945, Omar showed a natural aptitude for music, playing violin and piano to classical standards. However, during the 1960s and the ensuing worldwide cultural revolution he was smitten with the electrified sound of the Beatles and Elvis Presley and quickly adapted himself to the electric guitar. Before long, the virtuoso Omar was soon working with one of Egypt's greatest composers, Baligh Hamdi, who provided modern arrangements to suit his exceptional talents, arriving at a confluence of classical Egyptian and modern Western modes. This all elevated Omar to the position of national treasure, featuring heavily on TV and radio and becoming a film star both in Egypt and Lebanon. It was in Lebanon that he began to incorporate the electronic advancements of the 70s with help from engineer Nabil Moumtaz at the Polysound Studios in Beirut. With cutting edge production techniques he brought Arabic music relatively up to date with Western ideals, while still retaining a distinct Arabic character. The tracks on 'Guitar El Chark' are all taken from this period of fervent experimentation in Beirut between 1973-77, covering a seriously mindblowing array of psyched-out Moog and Synthesizer themes, exquisitely florid guitar playing and exotically syncopated rhythms for the connoisseurs. Tragically (and quite possibly related to the rising political tensions of that time and place), Omar was killed in a Cairo car crash in 1981, aged only 36. Sublime Frequencies have paid a fitting tribute to the man with a stunning collection of music rarely heard by Western ears, housed in super-robust full colour sleeve and pressed on two heavyweight slabs of wax. If you've only just picked up the pieces from Finders Keepers' 'Pomegranates' explosion or still have your Omar Souleyman albums on repeat, this should definitely be your next Mid-eastern musical fix. Exceptional stuff.