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National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" aired an interview with Anthony DeCurtis on November 6, 1994. Introduction: Led Zepplin's reunion album, "Unledded -- No Quarter," brings together music from the Middle East and Western rock and roll. This is the band's first album together in 14 years. Jacki Lyden, Host: From Marrakech in Morocco to Snowdonia in Wales, from London to Arabia - that's how far you can travel in a reunion production by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, the core performers in Led Zepplin. They haven't recorded together in 14 years, and though it seems that the reunion of rock giants for another very bankable production is becoming almost commonplace, this album Unledded - No Quarter is panoramic, bringing together an Egyptian orchestra, Moroccan percussionists, and recorded live in some locations with arrangements designed for more acoustic, less electric presentation. Critic Anthony DeCurtis says Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, now both 50ish, are galvanizing. [tape clip from 'Unledded - No Quarter'] Anthony DeCurtis, Editor and Critic, _Rolling Stone_: I think Led Zepplin, you know, just because of having a rather abrupt breakup and, you know, sort of slightly aborted career- Lyden: Over the death of their drummer. DeCurtis: Yeah, exactly, and, you know, they've really kind of lingered in people's mind and turned out to be fairly influential in a variety of ways. For example, in a way not typically thought of is, rappers have used, you know, Led Zepplin stuff quite a bit for samples. But also, you know, a million metal bands, and they're even looking a bit prescient, you know, given the kind of current interest in, you know, world music and, you know, sounds from other parts of the other parts of the world that they got interested in fairly early on, so that's maintained a fair amount of interest in them. [tape clip from 'Unledded - No Quarter'] Lyden: I think it's a dazzling record. To me it fuses everything you might hear in Middle Eastern music, which, if you have to listen to it for a long time in a hot taxi, can really drive you crazy, and beautiful, you know, Western rock and roll with all of its gutsiness. And to make those two things, they're both so aggressive, harmonize and work is an incredible challenge. I was astonished. DeCurtis: Yeah, they really- they really stepped up, you know. I think on a track like 'The Battle of Evermore,' which was, you know, a pretty interesting track when they originally did it. You know, they're working with- along with a, you know, fairly standard Western rock band, they're working with an ensemble of Egyptian musicians including this truly astonishing vocalist named Nadjma Aktar [sp]. [tape clip from 'Unledded - No Quarter'] Every time she opens her mouth, raises the energy level of the performance by a million degrees. I mean, it's just a staggering show of both artistic strength and emotional daring, and it really- you know, I mean, that's characteristic of what they managed to do on this. [tape clip from 'Unledded - No Quarter'] Lyden: When you think about this Led Zepplin album, No Quarter - I guess they're calling it Unledded - No Quarter - do you think of this group as having redefined themselves? DeCurtis: I think essentially what they've done is taken a situation that they just could have walked through - and walked directly to the bank, for that matter - and turned it into an opportunity to foreground some- an aspect of their music that's been overlooked. I mean, I think in a lot of people's minds, you know, Led Zepplin is the origin of heavy metal and nothing more. But, in fact, the kind of degree to which they introduced, you know, North African and Indian and, you know, other kind of- and folk elements into their music is all what they go after on this record, so to that degree they've kind of redefined a part of their own past. Lyden: What's the step beyond unplugged? What's next? DeCurtis: [laughs] That's right, MTV acappella is the suggestion here. Lyden: MTV acappella. I like that. Thanks very much for talking with us. DeCurtis: Always a pleasure. Lyden: Anthony De Curtis is an editor and critic at Rolling Stone magazine. [tape clip from 'Unledded - No Quarter']

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