At Ease 0606


rovi.MR0000423540 9/9/03 Used
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    At Ease 0606 Gemini Sun / Sounds True

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Review Text It would be glib (and easy) to pin the generic new age tag on this CD compilation. After all, it's endorsed by yoga instructors and Spa Finder magazine (!), among others. But judging from the musical evidence provided by the eight artists involved (who comprise practically the entire roster of the small Dharma Moon label), this is ambient meditation music of the highest level, which would be every bit as appropriate at a hip chill room as at some upscale spa. The common purpose and sensibility of the musicians also enhances continuity, making this CD much more than the usual kitchen-sink sampler. Authentic ethnic elements are supplied by bansuri flute master Steve Gorn, who appears under his own name and also as part of the world music group Drala, and by classically trained East Indian vocalist Falguni, who is featured on one track and contributes to another. Elsewhere, the music is dominated by acoustic guitarists David Nichtern (with two songs) and Michael Hewitt (with one) -- with some very subtle synth work from several musicians, including Nichtern, who also produces several tracks and is a featured member of Drala, together with Gorn. (Nichtern's slide guitar work on "Shambhala Moon" is particularly tasty.) Cello and/or violin are used to good advantage on several of the CD's nine selections, while pieces by Jamie Lawrence and Clifford Carter are keyboard-based. Lawrence's treated keyboards on "Meditation" are strongly suggestive of Harold Budd's music (no bad thing), while Carter's piano improvisation on "Earthdream"combine a folksy George Winston piano lyricism with resonant electronic drones (no bad thing either). High marks for versatility go to Kirby Shelstad, who serves as composer, percussionist, synth programmer, and vocalist on his "Sangye." Along with everyone else who contributes to this compilation, Shelstad deftly penetrates the pleasing surface of new age clichés and dives deeply into musical essences. ~ Bill Tilland

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Meditation - 5:08
  2. 2. Home Again - 10:31
  3. 3. Earthdream - 6:50
  4. 4. Shambhala Moon - 6:37
  5. 5. Subah - 6:48
  6. 6. Sangye - 6:29
  7. 7. Simplicity - 6:19
  8. 8. At Ease - 6:32
  9. 9. You Won't Let Anybody Down - 6:29

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