List Price: $16.98
Audio CD (January 28, 2003)
Number of Discs: 1
V.a. - Near Eastern Lounge
01."Free at Last" Claude Challe
02."Lost Love" Claude Challe
03."Harem" Claude Challe
04."Peace" Claude Challe
05."Sayat Nova" Claude Challe
06."Casa del Sol" Claude Challe
07."Zay Al Hawa" Claude Challe
08."Batwannis Beek" Claude Challe
09."Piece of Heaven" Claude Challe
10."Harem (House Mix)" Claude Challe
11."Passion" Claude Challe
Lebanese disco? Well, stranger things have been hits. Certainly, the three Beirut DJs behind the eponymous R.E.G. Project--Ralph Khoury, Elie Barbar, and Guy Manoukian--couldn't get a better introduction onto the international scene than at the hands of Paris DJ-cum-haberdasher-cum-restaurateur-cum-record-mogul Claude Challe. Challe's hipster cred will doubtless boost R.E.G.'s chances of success in Europe. R.E.G. Project's frenzied sound--a plainly hedonistic mix of Arabic swirls and wind instruments and thumping, percussive beats--arrives at the intersection where East meets West: indebted to both but faithful to neither. But things don't start out that way. Opening tracks "Free At Last" and "Lost Love" unfurl slowly and ambiently, as if reserving energy for the metered cacophony yet to come. By the first version of "Harem" (it appears twice) we're on a dance floor halfway between North Africa and the Middle East. Whether consciously or not, the R.E.G. Project conjures the ghost of Germany's phenomenal pan-African combo Dissidenten who, like the best fusionists, also follow the map of the heart, not the head. --Kim Hughes
Piece of heaven, June 12, 2004
Reviewer: Erica Anderson (Minneapolis, MN)
Most people familiar with my reviews knows that I am an enormous fan of the downtempo music, especially of the Buddha Bar series. Claude's work with the Buddha Bar series is impressive to say the very least. I first came across his name when I first saw this particular cd at my local Borders' bookstore. I listened to a sample of the cd and loved what I heard. I love Middle Eastern-influenced dance music. Today I struck gold when I found a used copy of "Near Eastern Lounge" in the used cd bins. I immediately bought it (along with the new DJ Tiesto cd, and the latest by Fountains of Wayne).
I didn't realize until I read the cd booklet that R.E.G Project is three Lebanese djs and that this incredible cd is a sample of their work. Claude Challe was smart to take these three guys under his wing and to expose the rest of the world with their incredible work as djs. The music is an amazing blend of traditional Middle Eastern music and modern house music. The results is a pure joy to listen to. The thunderous epic "Piece of Heaven" is evidence that the R.E.G Project is a force to reckon with. I loved how the beginning of the cd starts off very mellow and eventually picks up the pace after the third or fourth track. I loved all the songs. There wasn't one song on this cd that I didn't like or felt that it was out of place on the cd. Hopefully the future will be bright for these three talented men, as well as for legendary dj Claude Challe. I felt like I hit nirvana when I listened to "Near Eastern Lounge".
This has won me over, May 13, 2003
Reviewer: Vera S. Geroyska-flores "lucaaflore" (Rego Park, NY United States)
I first reviewed it, And I was to quick to judge . I began to love it and listen all the time. The clincher was hearing it in Morocco. I began to feel what Claude was introducing us to. This is not Claude but three other guys putting out some really interesting music.If they continue I see only room for improvement and look forward to it. Check out "spirit of Buddha Bar" by DJ Ravin it is fantastic as I have ever heard him spin in Paris.
It has run it's course... listen first!, February 22, 2003
Reviewer: "inbox51" (New York City)
I am a bit disappointed. Seems that Claude "theme" CD's have run their course and that he keeps looking for exotic destinations to add house and trip hop beats. This album is just that - a re-hash of what's been done before just with a Middle Eastern influence. Just like Nirvana Lounge which targeted Indian influenced beats, Near Eastern Lounge has the typical beats you've come know but in an almost plagiaristic way - I can't help but recall B-Tribe during some songs and Claude's own previous work in others - definitely the most contrived CD to date. Good thing I purchased in on sale but that's still the price of a good burrito here in Manhattan...