Sunday, December 12, 2010

CD Review – Heavens, by Paul Adams

On his latest CD, Paul Adams’s Native American flutes conjure a transforming, shamanistic experience that will transport you to another time and place.

This is challenging music as it makes you focus on the center of your being and prepares you for a mystical journey into your heart, soul, and mind – the “heavens” of your inner self, if you will.

Adams’s compositions and performances channel the sanctity and solemnity of the very source that inspires his choice of main instrument and this recording. In addition to Native American flutes, Adams uses various instruments to help paint a portrait of the people and culture of this land in the times before the arrival of the European settlers.

The percussion on one of the tracks sounds like a muted, barely audible gong that marks long stretches of time. It’s very ritualistic and conveys the effect of a liturgy of the ancients. Also, rich keyboard/synthesizer textures make it seem like Adams is conjuring ethereal spirits.

Adams’s flute playing is very appropriate to the style and purpose of the music. The melodies are hesitant and searching, yet every note is carefully chosen and constructed. Tracks like “Into the Deep Blue” in particular exemplify the penetrating and transcendental nature of the music. On the other hand, Adams wraps up the album with the jazzy “The Sky of Hope,” which almost feels like a celebratory culmination of a religious experience.

Heavens is effective on several levels – as background music; for catharsis, therapy, and healing; and for focused meditation. It’s also a perfect showcase for Adams’s compositional and performance talents and for the Native American flute as a hypnotic conduit for the cultivation of musical dreams.

--Raj Manoharan

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