Sunday, August 22, 2010

CD Review – Doorway to a Dream, by Ann Licater

Close your eyes and drift away as the entrancing tones of Ann Licater’s flutes whisk you away to another dimension of being. Unless you’re driving, of course – which is an equally valid way to experience the dreamy soundscapes of this composer-performer’s second CD. No matter where and how you listen to the album, you will find yourself embarking on a healing, meditative journey of self-discovery and enlightenment.

Licater plays a variety of Native American and other flutes from around the world, both in single lead lines and multi-tracked duets. Other musicians add additional layers of texture with keyboards, synthesizers, guitars, and percussion to create a full, rich sound that is soothing and relaxing while at the same time expansive and penetrating. The result is a CD with a variety of styles that never bores, even as it gently lulls listeners into a transcendental state.

The proceedings begin with the enchanting mystery of the title track, which serves not only as the gateway to the album but also as a portal to the sonic dreams that Licater weaves. The eerie cadence of the keyboard backing on “Wind and Butterfly II” evokes the melancholic musings of some of Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice themes. “Angel Bird” is at once folksy and lofty. The soft, inviting, yet edgy “Radiance” is the perfect meeting of jazz cool and New Age chill.

Doorway to a Dream is a great showcase for Licater’s talents, both as a skilled flutist and as a brilliant, wide-ranging composer. Her compositions and arrangements elevate this work from being a mere display of flute-playing ability to something more deep, riveting, and profound. This is highly recommended not only for fans of flute music, but also for fans of instrumental and New Age music in general.

--Raj Manoharan

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