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Spiritual High- A Trance-Ambient Experience

Sometimes an album simply demands that I buy it RIGHT NOW, take it home and listen to it immediately, and then let it rule my CD player for weeks, or even months. I generally pay attention to these subliminal demands- avoid the music racks when I am short of money, because I know that Resistance Is Futile. I keep a CD opener in my car for those visits to Barnes & Noble (the only place in my city with a fairly decent, if high-priced) selection of ambient/trance/world music. Now that my ears have finally fully recovered from the combined effects of antibiotics and pain drugs, I can enjoy sampling their wares. (The drug makers and doctors don’t tell you that some pain medications screw up your musical pitch sense, but they ought to. And some antibiotics will attenuate your hearing for months. It took me over 6 months to get my Ears back.)

Anyway, I digress. Spiritual High was one of those CDs which leaped into my unresisting hands (after temptingly tickling my ears with a sample), and became a soundtrack for my recent work. Much of my recent work has been chasing down stuff related to the late, great World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, and writing about them, so the global reach of this album is fitting.

EarthTone Records has put together a wonderfully eclectic collection of ambient world music artists- Govinda, Cybertribe, James Asher, and some artists I’ve never heard before, but would happily snap up if I found them on my local racks.

Favorites on this album include "Shakuhachi Tales" by Kamal- a moody, Japanesque piece, "Truth About Humans", by Govinda, which combines a violin, socket driver (!) and what sounds like a Rai singer in a haunting interplay. Rather Kabul- esque.

Mars Lasar’s "Escape To Reality" manages to combine an urban sensibility with ancient singing styles, Amazon creatures, and a kicky rhythm.

Much of the delight of albums like this one is the incredible mixing of musical styles and instruments from far flung cultures. "Blossoms From India" by Gingko Garden manages to combine Indian drumming, sitars, and Chinese violins and harps, along with a chorus and synths into a lovely blend of Indian and Chinese melody. This sort of recombinant music making brings me great comfort. The Clear Channel pop-pap ruled American airwaves may never air such aural delights, but they do exist. And the digital satellite stations play them, which might be a good excuse to get satellite radio.

"Parada", by Marcome, is a serene, three quarter time piece which suggests healing, rest, and even forgiveness. It was played many times on the anniversary of September 11th, instead of the TV or radio.

I’ve mentioned this before- but my pet peeve about samplers is that they invariably make me want to buy every album featured on them. Happily, I have two or three of the artists featured on this album, but would love to snag most of the rest. My other pet peeve is that the liner notes are, as usual, superficial, but that is common on samplers. EarthTone is pretty generous with liner notes on their artist albums, so I cannot blame them for wanting the listener to buy the whole kaboodle, which are 15 artists. The CD is a good investment, clocking in at 74 minutes. So, if you’re still too broke (or lazy) to burn your own mixes for road trips, get this one. You’ll like it.

Copyright 2002 Sunfell

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