Trancescapes: Gaia Sadhana

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Trancescapes features singer-songwriter Bill Bourne, who plays blues/rock/acoustic and is a respected muso in Canada, but he’s changed direction for this CD, billed as music for meditation.
We assume he meditates and knows what he likes but it’s far from that bland New Age music you get in shops selling crystals and healing rocks, for people who think spirituality comes with a Terry Oldfield CD and a shiny lump of quartz.
It’s too good for meditation, as it’s too interesting to listen to. It might work in a large group doing guided meditation and playing in the background, but it will probably work best as background music while you chill. (Or as house music for shops selling rocks and David Icke books).
It opens with Anima, which has a steadily strummed guitar, eastern strings and Tibetan cymbals. This gently segues into Prapti, which is pretty much the same, less the cymbals but with added kick drum. Mahima sees the acoustic guitar to the fore and things almost get lively. Yatra-Kamavasayitva sees some percussion (it could be someone clicking their tongue), before vocalisations come in, somewhere between Asian Indian and the movie-cliché First Nations singing from North America.
As a whole, it seems influenced more by Islam than Eastern religions, specifically gnawa, the African Islamic music that aims to create a trance-like state as part of a religious ceremony, with musical phrases repeated. We found it less authentic and less trance-inducing than Gnawa, so while it’s better than a crystal shop New Age CD, it’s also a paler Western copy of the real thing.
Still: whatever its flaws, full marks to the players. It’s recorded live in one evening, when Bourne jammed with a group of Edmonton-based musicians. A cut above your average ambient New Age music.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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