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Review: Bedouine's debut is hushed, haunted, delicate wonder

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/27/2017 By PABLO GORONDI, Associated Press
This cover image released by Spacebomb Records shows a self-titled album by Bedouine. (Spacebomb Records via AP) © The Associated Press This cover image released by Spacebomb Records shows a self-titled album by Bedouine. (Spacebomb Records via AP)

Bedouine, "Bedouine" (Spacebomb Records)

Bedouine is Azniv Korkejian's alias and the title of her debut. It's a hushed, haunted, delicate wonder — a collection evoking 1970s singer-songwriters which pairs her thoughtful words with unfussy arrangements.

Born to an Armenian family in Aleppo, Syria, Korkejian grew up in Saudi Arabia before her family won the green card lottery and moved to the U.S. She was practically nomadic for a while (like the Bedouin tribes of the Middle East) but is now based in Los Angeles.

Opener "Nice and Quiet" is truth in advertising for the rest of the album. If that sounds like it might get boring, don't worry, there's always something going on to caress your ears and merit your attention.

Gracefully produced by Gus Seyffert, "Bedouine," at times, is reminiscent of Leonard Cohen, Laura Marling and Bill Withers. Sometimes it's the lyrics, in other places it's Korkejian's unaffected, sometimes nearly-spoken delivery and also because the songs are usually built upon her acoustic guitar.

Withers comes to mind, too, because, like Korkejian, he was also in his thirties by the time he made his first album. While Withers worked at an airplane factory, Bedouine is a professional sound designer, editing dialogue and music in Hollywood, which may account for the some of the precision and spatial spread of the soundscapes.

Highlights include the sweeping romanticism of "Dusty Eyes," the confident vulnerability of "Solitary Daughter," the gentle bossa nova harmonies on "Back to You" and shades of English folk on "Heart Take Flight."

In "Bedouine," Korkejian has crafted a winner and she repays the immigrant lottery in spades.

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