[1 August 2011]
Raised in Ramallah, Tariq Abboushi studied buzuq at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music and then moved to the US to study jazz—and this information does not surprise you even slightly, because the music of Mumtastic is sinuous, plangent, wormed with Middle Eastern loops and hooks, and also playful, with a jazz playfulness, noodling, twisting, breaking off into a bass, a rock drum, a clarinet solo. The clarinet flits, the percussion bites, Abboushi comes in against them both with his buzuq – a lutelike instrument, related to bouzouki and saz – a sound tough and colourful as a Duplo block and fizzing like a telephone wire. The jazz-playfulness becomes jazz-serious and jazz-sparse with “The Wall”, a sober piece, a meditation, says the publicity, on the barrier erected by Israel along the West Bank. But the mood of the album is happy overall. Listen, it says, to all our ideas.