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Music for Meditation
Music for Zen Meditation
Artist: Tony Scott
A celebrated jazz clarinetist in the 1950s, Tony Scott started collaborating with Japanese artists on a trip he made to the country in 1959. He returned in 1964 to teach classes in American jazz and ended up collaborating with koto player Shinichi Yuize and shakuhachi flute player Hozan Yamamoto on a dozen improvised collaborations. Based on the Zen concept of beginner's mind, a state of openness that leads to exploration, the Scott-led pieces predate the more modern concept of "ambient" by a good couple of decades--but, as music descended from temples and designed to ease the mind to a state of higher consciousness, it follows many of the same directives.
Sound Medicine: Music for Healing
Artist: Steven Halpern
Natural Balance and Harmony Your body is a self-healing instrument. If you give it a chance it will always tend toward homeostasis or healthful balance. Sound healer Steven Halpern uses soothing and free-floating keyboard compositions to draw the body into this state of balance and harmony. Combining artistic inspiration, sensitivity, and sophisticated sound technology, his compositions synchronize the hemispheres of the brain and amplify the production of alpha waves. This natural response is associated with feelings of deep relaxation, contentment, and well-being. Steven Halpern, Ph.D. stands at the leading edge of the growing public understanding of the relationship between music, body, mind and spirit.
Detaching the World Vol. 1 - Ambient Music for Massage/Relaxation/Meditation
Artist: Detaching the World
This CD has been created to provide over 60 minutes in running time without the use of vocals or percussion. Emil Gagliardi has introduced a new style of guitar called "The Nuit's Effect" named after its rich soothing textures and deep earthy tones. From the opening cut of "Tranquil Sunrise", Gagliardi's swirling guitar immediately sets the perfect mood for massage and relaxation. The density of "The Valley Beyond" swallows you up in a tapestry of color similar to a warm blanket while the hauntingly beautiful "Fallen Angel" resembles a fresh new day after a storm.
Angugama uses the didgeridoo and a drum beat, along with the sounds of nature, and synchronization with certain brain wave patterns, to clear the emotions and help focus the mind and heart on these beautiful sounds. The music is peaceful and meditative. The liner notes provide some fascinating information how the "Spiritual Environments" recordings of which this is one ... create a healing effect with the sounds of nature and sacred mantras.
Sanctuary: Music from a Zen Garden
Artist: Riley Lee
As peaceful and enchanting as a sunset's afterglow on a cloudless summer evening, the gentle music of Riley Lee (playing shakuhachi flute, an instrument traditionally used by Japanese monks) and Bert Moon (on koto, a 13-string zither) stirs a warm, caressing breeze that calms the spirit and stills the mind. Lee, an Australian, is one of the few non-Japanese musicians to be acknowledged as a dai shihan (grand master) of the shakuhachi, a fairly primitive flute made from a bamboo root. His talents are artfully displayed on this tranquil assortment of improvisational duets with Moon, recorded in 1984 and first released in 1991 as a meditative cassette titled Evening Mist.
The Spirit of Yoga
Music to ease stress away and promote peace of mind. Ideal for yoga, meditation, healing, whenever the attention is directed inward toward that dynamic place of stillness. Featuring Grammy nominated Jai Uttal chanting and on dotar and Manose Singh on bamboo flute. This CD is musical prana that breathes life into the practice of yoga. This CD goes back to the source of indian instruments without synthesizers.
Label President Terence Yallop, who leads a 15-minute guided meditation on Namasté’s second bonus disc, has done a superb job of assembling pieces that transmit New Age music’s most trancelike and devotional qualities. Two beautiful tracks are from Karunesh’s Zen Breakfast, two from discs by Buedi Siebert. "Prabhupada Padma" from Rasa in Concert features the vocals of Kim Waters. Kim’s voice is so sensual that she could sing a grocery list and have you down on your knees, pledging eternal devotion to Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and hopefully something more organic. The music of Ben Leinbach, excerpted from his Spirit of Yoga disc, has already received praise in these pages: Yallop wisely uses it as background to his meditation as well as a solo track.
Artist: George Winston
The precursor to 1982's commercial breakthrough, December, George Winston's 1980 Windham Hill debut boasts all the lyrical power and poignancy of its follow-up. A simple, clear recording for solo piano, Autumn finds Winston developing simple melodic motifs with studied left-hand underpinning, on hypnotic pieces like "Woods," which moves from a brisk rhythmic figure to rubato minor-key runs. Leaving pauses and breaths in all the right places, Winston suggests the play of color and light, the comfortable melancholy, and the encroaching slow-down that characterizes the fall season.
Ambient 1: Music for Airports
Artist: Brian Eno
This complex sound sculpture was created by Brian Eno in 1978 and was even installed for a while at the Marine Terminal of New York at LaGuardia Airport. The ambient-minimalist soundscape has been alternately described as background Muzak, a profoundly artificial musical milieu, and a groundbreaking studio creation. Eno designed Music for Airports from a few simple notes and the serial organization of variable tape loops that didn't quite match up. It's a groundbreaking elaboration on the aural/spatial dimension that utilizes silence, piano, synthesizer, female voices, and, most importantly, the technology of the studio.
Canyon Trilogy: Native American Flute Music
Artist: R. Carlos Nakai
Nakai's free improvisations on this album are based on his impressions of the Anasazi and Sinagua sites, ancient cliff dwellings that were home to communities of Native people thousands of years ago. By using the Roland SDE 3000 Digital Delay system, Nakai is able to play duets with his own echo, in an effort to emulate the echoes of the past that haunt these ruins. On this recording, Nakai's flute sounds even more plaintive than usual, as if the spirits of these forgotten ancestors had entered into the studio to fill his playing with the whispered reverberations of their ancient ways. This is one of Nakai's most deeply felt recordings, one that resonates with a deep, melancholy yearning.
In the Garden of Souls
On their third album, In the Garden of Souls, Vas doesn't so much extend their sound as go deeper within it. Singer Azam Ali continues singing in tongues; she's an intoxicating priestess who invites you into terrain that's both sacred and sensual. Her voice is framed by her own hammered dulcimer and the percussion of Greg Ellis. He draws on a trap set that replaces tom-toms, snare drums, and cymbals with djembes, dumbeks, udu drums, chimes, and bells to surround Ali with a seductive swirl of throbbing percussion, while Cameron Stone adds sinewy, raga-like cello lines. Azam Ali's voice is a stunning instrument, hovering between the ululations of Iran, where she was born, and the extended, note-bending melodiousness of India, where she was raised.
Tibetan Tantric Choir
Artist: The Gyuto Monks
Nothing can prepare the uninitiated for the shocking sound of Tibetan throat singing, and these two liturgical pieces, each clocking in at near 25 minutes, are among the best, and most chilling, examples. The Gyuto Monks, in exile in India since the annexation of their native Tibet, have developed a tradition of singing that involves producing the lowest possible notes in the vocal range while simultaneously singing high overtones.
This, the third pairing of Brit multi-instrumentalist Thornton and Egyptian percussionist Ramzy, further explores Middle Eastern dance motifs in a contemporary setting. Recording the basic tracks in the U.K., they went to Cairo and invited some of the top local musicians to collaborate. Flute, violin, ney, aud, rebala, and accordion flesh out these extended, ambient grooves in an evocative, textural tapestry aimed as much at the mind as at the feet. Reminiscent of Peter Gabriel's film scoring, Immortal Egypt has, with all its participants, enough cultural pedigree to satisfy World Music fans and sonic construction to please the headphone listener..
New Age Music
Paint the Sky with Stars: The Best of Enya
New Age diva Enya first became widely known when her 1988 album Watermark sold 4 million copies and launched the single "Orinoco Flow." Her follow-up, Shepherd Moons, was even more successful, selling over 10 million copies despite its slightly lower grade of ethereal enchantment. In 1997 she released Paint the Sky with Stars, an assortment of her best work from these two early albums plus gems from 1995's The Memory of Trees and the soundtrack to the BBC series The Celts. The most melodic and atmospheric examples of Enya's lovely Celtic-flavored songwriting shine on this disc. Overall, an outstanding collection from an artist who gives New Age a good name.
Artist: Deep Forest
What a fascinating and spine-tingling interpretation and enhancement of Eastern European music, primarily Hungarian, which is my heritage. Deep Forest manages to make Marta Sebestyen sound even more evocative than she usually sounds ... her voice is soulful, poignant, piercingly tender and sincere. This CD is one nonstop experience of primarily Hungarian/Gypsy and Eastern European culture. It is made more enticing and alluring by the qualities Deep Forest brings forth with their creative imaginations -- they add unique beats and splendid vocalizations.
This is Enigma's juxtaposition of the sexual and sacred. Their inclusion of chanting monks in "Sadeness," over wooshy ambient noises and a slower hip-hop-appropriated beat was a sensation. "Callas Went Away" promised more than it could deliver, although "Mea Culpa" stands as one of the few shining moments on the CD. The idea of mixing new age aural wallpaper with beats that you can do a slow grind to is actually rather intriguing. Spicing it up with controversial religious chants isn't a bad idea either.
Karma is said to be one of the best Delerium albums. The melodies are textured and lush, the beats entrancing, and a parade of gifted singers--Kristy Thirsk, Jacqui Hunt, and Sarah McLachlan included--bill and coo impressively. Lead single "Euphoria (Firefly)" has spark and spirit, while "Enchanted" and "Duende" are strong vehicles for Thirsk and Camille Henderson respectively
Artist: Deva Premal
This top selling New Age/World beat CD is smooth, silky, calming and peaceful. Featuring Deva Premal's transcendant voice, ambient grooves, keyboard and hand percussion, THE ESSENCE invokes the heart healing power of ancient chants and mantras. The Gayatri Mantra, the oldest known to mankind, is the centerpiece of this truly meditative CD. Ideal for yoga, healing work, meditation and dancing.
Elysium for the Brave
Azam Ali, lead vocalist of Vas and Niyaz, takes her patented polycultural blend of ancient and contemporary influences even farther beyond the stratosphere. That she is now a veteran of numerous film scores, including Children of Dune, Earthsea, and Matrix Revolutions, perhaps explains her present more cinematic direction. Born in Iran, reared in India and the US, and gifted with a voice of improbable tonal breadth, flexibility, and beauty, she is backed by collaborators like Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Chris Venna (Nine Inch Nails), Turkish DJ/composer Mercan Dede, the Japanese ensemble Kodo, and Grateful Dead drummer/world percussion enthusiast Mickey Hart.
Songs from a Secret Garden
Artist: Secret Garden
The popular twosome--Irish violinist Fionnuala (fi-NOO-la) Sherry and Norwegian pianist/keyboardist Rolf Lovland--have attracted a sizable following with their heart-touching specialty: a wistful, violin-rooted, pop-folk-classical melange that often strikes the ear as a film score in search of some delicate romantic tale. Songs from a Secret Garden is the duo's debut recording from 1995, and it principally offers a series of pensive dialogues between Sherry's stately violin and Lovland's subdued piano, yielding equal measures of sweetness and melancholy.
Pure Moods, Vol. I
New Age music, ambient electronica, and spiritualized hip-hop received their first major, K-Tel-like treatment in 1996 when Virgin Records assembled Pure Moods. To be sure, Pure Moods offers genre hits aplenty: from Enya's "Orinoco Flow" to "Sadness" from Enigma; from a dance mix of the "X-Files Theme" to edits of vintage electronica from Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells) and Jean Michele Jarre (Oxygene). Beyond other selections of beat-enhanced chants and a few other popular themes ("The Mission," "Twin Peaks"), the album, refreshingly, also includes a few selections noteworthy only for their originality and quality.
Dramatic flamenco guitar, ambient synthesizer tonalities, and moody, wordless vocals evoke a windswept plain, or the ocean at dusk. It's music as mood. Mood as music. It's the aural atmospher that will soon be providing the soundtrack to your life. This CD is a marvelous selection of a variety of kind of "nouveau-spiritual" pieces, interpreted to perfection by B Tribe. Overall the approach to the music is almost reverent in its re-interpretation and combination of tunes that always rest on the edges of your mind. For instance, there is a new take on "Adagio for Strings", some tradtitional Irish in "She moved through the Fair" and Bob Marley samples on "The Sun".
In My Time
Formally attired and seductively positioned, Yanni gazes out at you from the cover of this 1993 recording and--no description needed--tells you everything you need to know about the music that awaits inside. Here are a few additional details: In My Time is a 49-minute album of piano-based works with a distinct neoclassical flavor that is targeted specifically to Yanni's large and faithful female following. Its highlights: the shimmering tenderness of "In the Morning Light" and the gently caressing "To Take ... To Hold." Perhaps because this was his last album for Private Music, he elected to fill it in with two repeats from Dare to Dream, "Felitsa" and "In the Mirror."
Tranquility, Real Music's sampler, invites the heart into realms of reflection and serenity. Over seventy minutes of music composed by eleven Real Music artists, Tranquility includes the angelic harp of Hilary Stagg and the tender, eloquent piano of Kevin Kern. Poetic, inspired, expansive and healing, this music shimmers.
1492: Conquest of Paradise - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The music for this film brings out the the most poignant aspects of Columbus' audacious journey. The glory & honor of exploring, as well as the feeling of an almost morose fear of unknown waters, are all visualized trenchently via Vangelis' music. Crossing the Atlantic has become so commonplace nowadays that it is difficult for us to conceive of it as being anything extraordinary. Vangelis' score takes us back to a time when "Nina" "Pinta" and "Santa Maria" were the only ships to have travelled that far west, ever (with the exception of Leif Erickson). Truly Columbus & his men were the pioneers of trans-Atlantic travel
The Mission: Original Soundtrack
Artist: Ennio Morricone
Ennio Morricone's Academy Award-nominated score captures the conflict between 18th-century Jesuit missionaries trying to convert the native Indians, and the slavers who want to destroy them. In keeping with the serious subject matter and epic scope of Roland Joffé's film, the score is by turns grave, lyrical, and tense. Ever inventive, Morricone mixes liturgical chorales, native drumming, and Spanish-influenced guitars, often in the very same track, to capture the drama of the culture clash.
The Thin Red Line: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Artist: Hans Zimmer
Hans Zimmer, trying to avoid war-movie clichés, accompanies the dramatized carnage at Guadalcanal with a weepy and wistful score. Like the Terrence Malick film, the music, with its sad violins and underscored orchestra, invokes a war that is more introspective, a fitting backdrop to the often purple poeticisms in the voice-over narrations. Zimmer provides occasional adaptations to the American folk hymn "Christian Race," but his overall effect is much more otherworldly. Instead of the earthier martial themes associated with warlords or heroes, this is the soundtrack to a melancholy Valhalla, a story seemingly told by battlefield casualties who are already angels.
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