(1998, Real World)
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During his affiliation with Opal Records, Michael Brook produced Moon Shines At Night, an album of new recordings by the venerated Armenian musician Djivan Gasparyan. A master of the duduk, a small flute carved from apricot wood, Gasparyan was single-handedly responsible for familiarizing world audiences with the mournful, oboe-like sound of an instrument that might otherwise have faded into obscurity. The path toward proper collaboration between Gasparyan and Brook began when both musicians were asked to play at a music festival on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. This chance reconnect led first to the planning of another collection of traditionally voiced material comparable to Moon Shines At Night. But as recording got underway, first at Lanzarote and later at Real World in England, more elaborate arrangements were tried as the pair developed a working rapport. “There was a stepping up in the willingness to takes risks,” recalls Michael. “[Djivan and I] achieved a new depth in our collaboration.”
To fully realize the album now known as Black Rock, Brook and Gasparyan drew on the talents of multi-instrumentalist Richard Evans, who had previously engineered Brook’s productions of the Pogues, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and U. Srinivas. Black Rock marked the beginning of a mutually beneficial working relationship between Brook and Evans that continues through the present. Jason Lewis’ drumming was also featured in the sessions for Black Rock and he, too, would play a part in future Brook productions.
Black Rock later won a World Music trophy for both Gasparyan and Brook at the first annual Armenian Music Awards held in Glendale, CA. in 1998.