Prince of Assyria - Missing Note – Kning Disk
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Prince of Assyria - Missing Note

Prince of Assyria - Missing Note

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CD (2nd Ed. Ltd Ed of 1299 handmade and numbered copies)
CD (3rd Ed. Ltd Ed of 999 copies)

Catalogue No.: KD072
Release date: 6 Nov 2009

4/5 Göteborgs-Posten 4/5 Sydsvenskan 4/5 Arbetarbladet

As a follow-up to the beautiful What Ever You Want single, Prince of Assyria returns with his debut album, Missing Note. That single and its flipside, Tliqa, provide a common link between that first release and this full-length offering, which highlights the development and maturity of Ninos Dankha’s songwriting. It’s Tliqa which offers the best indication of what to expect from these ten tracks, which shimmer and glide throughout.

A low-key acoustic gem, it carries remnants of the DNA of Leonard Cohen and Smog’s Bill Callahan, as well as the more stately corners of Nick Cave’s back catalogue, underpinned by a quietly ornate piano melody and topped off with Dankha’s sonorous tones. »I’m losing myself over your love,« he sighs, while barely audible strings sweep the elegant vignette along. A key touchstone for the remainder of the album, there’s a brooding intensity here which runs through much of his work, united by this ravishingly dark tone.

One of the most startling realisations about Dankha’s music is how he fuses together the contrasting facets of his background, and there’s a rich cultural diversity in his songwriting which reflects his life. Born in Baghdad, Dankha and his family fled to Sweden when he was one year old, and in combining narratives about his Assyrian heritage with more traditional Western folk styles he presents an enchanting hybrid.

The range of instrumentation on Missing Note is equally diverse. Though his own style remains rooted in folk, there are plenty of other ingredients introduced to the fold which give additional depth to Dankha’s songwriting. Whether it’s the tabla rhythms and orchestral strains which decorate the sumptuous Another Love Song, or the use of accordion and swelling horns on the jazz-tinged Sail the Ships Away, which help to create a fun atmosphere which is, oddly, bordering on funk. Uncovering surprises at every turn, there are untold treasures to be discovered here.

The rhythmic finger-picking on Emotion Laces is likely to draw comparisons with Nick Drake, another key reference point for Prince of Assyria, though it slowly morphs into a raga-informed jam reminiscent of Voice of the Seven Woods, complete with droning effects and tabla, which succeed in concocting a vibrant feel, with the insistent rhythms being a focal point.

A bittersweet record charting love and loss, there’s a lyrical dexterity apparent which perfectly complements the often downbeat melodies. Showcasing a delicious sense of the macabre, Missing Note manages to be playful rather than morose, but packs an emotional weight which anchors these songs to universal themes.

Fully delivering on the promise outlined on his first single, Missing Note properly unveils Dankha’s own vision, which is a uniquely exotic and hypnotic take on the troubadour. Achieved with a deft touch, there is a beguiling intimacy at the heart of this release which confirms Prince of Assyria as a force to be reckoned with. Warm and intoxicating, with a myriad layers revealing themselves with every listen, this is a debut album that you’ll want to play again and again.

Another Love Song
Tears Of Joy
Sail The Ships Away
What Ever You Want
Waltz Life
We As People
Sleep Tight
Emotion Laces
Missing Note

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