Tamino – SAHAR

A timeless, captivating album...

Conceived in the quiet of his home and influenced by his Belgian-Egyptian heritage, Tamino’s sophomore album ‘Sahar’ is an unsettling, yet deeply captivating, record. Spanning across forty-four minutes, Tamino shares a haunting sonic landscape, with something cinematic, romantic, even ancient, in his work. With a sensitivity and shyness akin to Jeff Buckley, Tamino brings together Arabic and European folk traditions to deliver an intimate, atmospheric record.

Across ten tracks, Tamino constructs a curious portrait of love and loss, the haze of weed smoke practically visible in the air. With his whisper of a voice and use of soft acoustic guitars, there is a real sense of sitting beside the musician in his small Antwerp apartment where much of the record was conceived, tracks such as ‘Cinnamon’ inviting us to feel as though he plays for us and us alone. Track ‘The Flame’ also shares this delicacy and intimacy, creating a curious haze of warmth and light and ensuring the album holds true to its name, ‘Sahar’, roughly translated from Arabic as ‘just before dawn.’

Despite ‘You Don’t Own Me’ being one of the album’s lead singles, it perhaps lacks the cinematic quality it so clearly desires, vocals failing to blend seamlessly with the James Bond-like score to produce something which is, although moving, a little anti-climatic. Meanwhile track ‘Fascination’ feels a little underwritten, an unusual case for the talented lyricist, whose finest example of poetic lyricism comes with track ‘Sunflower’, where Tamino expresses the depths of his devotion for his lover. A collaboration with fellow Belgian singer-songwriter Angèle, both musicians assume the role of lovers who believe their affections for one another to be unreciprocated, when in reality they share the same deep longing and love.

Closing the album with ‘My Dearest Friend And Enemy’ and it is impossible not to make a comparison to the great Jeff Buckley. A timeless, sweeping soundscape alongside lyrics of deep longing, there is an undeniable pain in the musician’s voice. A sense of ennui, regret and hope, this is music which quietly shares Tamino’s very soul, leaving the listener reflecting on their own life, their own loves, their own pains and fears and fascinations.


Words: Grace Dodd

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