Colin Greenwood Teams Up With Tamino-Amir Moharam Fouad On Rhythmically Enticing ‘Amir’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Belgian-Egyptian singer, Tamino-Amir Moharam Fouad, better known as Tamino, is still relatively under-the-radar in North America. However, in Europe, he regularly sells out shows to fans eager to experience the singer-writers fresh sounds. After releasing two Eps, Tamino released Amir in 2018 which brought a lot of attention with his unique take, combining Western singer/songwriting with Middle Eastern instrumentation. For his sophomore release, Sahar, Tamino has collaborated with Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood, Belgian producer PJ Maertens and drummer Ruben Vanhoutte. On Amir, Tamino was often accompanied by Middle Eastern orchestration, while mostly absent on Sahar there a still subtle hints of his roots there to grasp.

Sahar opens with “The Longing”, a hauntingly beautiful track that begins with the deft finger-picked guitar that gives the listener the impressions of the middle east. The slow build of the song reflects the meaning of the Arabic word ‘sahar’ which describes that time just before dawn. “The Flame” comes out of the gate with a full slew of instrumentation. The rhythm sections play a funky time signature as a synthesizer chorus “sings” a dark harmony to Tamino’s vocals.

The vocal tones, synth effects, and time signature seem to show Greenwood’s influence as it’s the most Radiohead-sounding song on Sahar. On “Fascination” it’s easy to hear why Tamino is often called the ‘Belgian Jeff Buckley’. The jangly, bright guitars paired with Tamino’s crooning sound like it could’ve been a B-side to Buckley’s Grace. The bulk of the album is made up of mostly acoustic guitar and relaxed vocals like “Only Our Love” and “Cinnamon”. The most unique of those songs though is “A Drop Of Blood” on which Tamino transports the listener to Arabia with his guitar strumming and vocal styling and is easily one of the most stand-out tracks on Sahar

While some of the tracks on Sahar can come off a bit too ‘singer/songwriter’, most of the album is hauntingly beautiful. The influence of Colin Greenwood can be glimpsed on some songs but Sahar shines when Tamino leans into his roots giving the listener something unique sounding to the Western world.

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