Saturday, January 29, 2011

CD Review – 3rd Eye Rising: A Journey Through Ascending Realms, by Paradiso and Rasamayi

Paradiso and Rasamayi serve as musical spirit guides on their latest collaboration, 3rd Eye Rising: A Journey Through Ascending Realms.

The CD features the talents of Paradiso on didjeridoo and keyboards and Rasamayi on chants and Tibetan and crystal singing bowls, resulting in a blissful sound experience that creates the impression of floating on clouds.

Paradiso's keyboards lay the lush sonic foundation over which his didjeridoo and Rasamayi’s chants and Tibetan and crystal singing bowls coalesce into exotic otherworldly sounds that rapture the senses and elevate the consciousness into other dimensions of being.

There is one track, which I call “The Gong Song,” that completely grabbed my attention and never let go. Aside from a brief synthesizer intro, the recording is composed entirely of two gongs that sound like one gong coming to a shimmering conclusion over several minutes. I never thought I could be mesmerized by a tune consisting solely of gongs. It is probably the most compelling track on the album.

3rd Eye Rising: A Journey Through Ascending Realms comes as close as an album can get to being the perfect aural background for meditation and massage. Its hypnotic, cathartic effect makes it absolutely conducive to therapeutic healing, and it’s pleasant to listen to as an ethereal soundtrack to accompany the mind on its transcendental journeys.

--Raj Manoharan

Sunday, January 16, 2011

CD Review – Dreaming Still, by Kathryn Kaye

Dreaming Still, the appropriately named debut album from pianist Kathryn Kaye, could very well be the soundtrack to a dream: it’s lyrical, beautiful, and, well, dreamy.

The compositions are simple yet elegant, much like Kaye’s brilliantly understated piano playing, which is tinged with the gracefulness of the hymns she learned during her Appalachian upbringing. She makes full use of the keyboard, anchoring soaring melodies in rich, deep chords, and yet manages to keep it all reigned in and prevent it from becoming overbearing or overwhelming. The result is a pleasant listening experience that is perfect for both intellectual stimulation and emotional refuge.

Kaye is backed on this recording by a solid lineup of musicians including Charlie Bisharat on violin, Eugene Friesen on cello, Dan Greenspan on bass, Jill Haley on English horn, Derrik Jordan on percussion, and Noah Wilding on vocals. The Grammy Award-winning team of producer Will Ackerman and recording engineer Corin Nelsen brings a polished sheen to the proceedings, resulting in a crisp, crystal-clear sound that practically puts listeners up close with the musicians in the studio.

Dreaming Still will leave piano music aficionados, as well as casual music listeners, in a positively blissful, dreamy state of mind.

--Raj Manoharan