Wormed with Middle Eastern loops and hooks, and also playful, with a jazz playfulness
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.