By Jim Brenholts



Dean Evenson and Walter Makichen
Golden Spa Tones
Soundings of the Planet
The room is dark except for the soft glow of candles and the pastel lights from a steam fountain. The rush of the surf pounding the shore breaks the silence followed by the striking of a Tibetan gong. Sounds from the coastal plains carouse with bowls, bells and flutes as the spell of the atmospheres caress and embrace — lovingly and gently. The experience is also intense as feelings of peace, harmony and serenity wash over and surround the heart and soul.

Thus, Dean Evenson and Walter Makichen facilitate the beginnings of a journey to the inner and outer reaches of the self. Golden Spa Tones encourages and allow the healing processes to unfold slowly and deliberately. Being the experts that they are, Dean and Walter have implemented a trip to and from the soul.

This is one of the finest healing arts CD’s available — in any era, style or genré. Dean’s silver and alto flutes interact playfully with Walter’s bells, bowls and gongs. The natural overtone properties of these acoustic instruments give them electronic sounds. The ocean recordings enhance the atmospheres and complete the soundscapes.

The soft glow of the candles creates an hypnotic aura. The steam makes the room shimmer. The trance is complete. It is a warm, comfortable and safe haven for that “rest stop on the highway of life.” The aura shifts and bends at the best of its inhabitant(s). the journey has focus with no clarity and clarity with no focus. The esoteric juxtapositions have deep meanings and they are meaningless.

Thus the healing reflects similarities to the twelve steps. It is only through complete surrender that one achieves any modicum of victory. The journey is the destination.

There are not enough awards or honors to celebrate the brilliance of this CD. Suffice it to say that Dean and Walter deserve major kudos for its creation.

Maneki Neko
Stray Pointer Records
Rising to change the CD breaks the spell but only momentarily. Tibetan prayer bells and an Egyptian ney flute return the state of healing rather quickly. The soft glow is more relaxed as the candles dwindle. The aromas of the scented candles, the burning flames and the dripping wax augment the scene as Maneki Neko assumes the role of facilitator. Auracle becomes the vehicle for the continuation of the trance.

Maneki uses the aforementioned bells and ney along with gongs, a shakuhachi, samples and other exotic instruments to create these deep atmospheres. The sound design is exquisite and allows for sharp focus with free-form _expression. The psychoactivity is evident as the music unfolds and takes control.

While it is repetitive, the overtone properties are the driving — and divine — forces behind this healing adventure. There is a direct link to the serotinin activity in the synapses of the brain. (As I might have written in previous issues, I know just enough about this subject to get myself in trouble.)

The visual and olfactory sensations of this session are sweet. However, it is the music — the Auracle — that makes the journey possible. It also adds to the enjoyment of many other experiences as great ambient music should.

This is an excellent CD from a newcomer to the community. It approaches, achieves and supersedes greatness.

East of the Full Moon
New Earth Records
Long healing sessions such as this one beg for a multi-disc changer. However, when one is not available, the breaks can be incorporated into the session as “rests from the rest.” they provide opportunities to replace candles — if needed — take care of mother nature’s calls or just to enjoy some silent activity.

The return to the session takes very little time. The aromas and visuals allow the music to get straight to the business at hand. The changing hues of the steam fountain create smooth serenity clouds. The flickering candles and unpredictable shadows allow for several variations on a theme.

Deuter (Georg) is, of course, one of the world’s foremost performers of healing music. East of the Full Moon, while a bit heavy on the acoustic at first, has ample atmospheres and free-form structures for leaving the self to find the soul. The set is beautiful and elegant and charms the spirit with its simplicity. Georg is a gracious host as well and he invites the session into his private soundworlds with ease. The soundscapes blossom from smooth acoustics and sweet melodies. The music is symphonis and it cavorts with with the heart and soul.

The session intensifies as Georg intensifies his sound design. The drones are more pronounced and the overtones increase as the piano fades into the background — even disappearing at times. The experience reaches the nth plateau as the senses absorb the stimuli and the physiological responses dictate the flow.

Deuter is the master craftsman and master facilitator. He has few peers in this arena. While this CD might not be his best (IMHO, anyway), it is a worthy addition to any healing music collection.

Drew Bennett
Tribal Awakening
Kokopelli Records
The short break ends and the Native American flute takes control — quickly! This delicious instrument has been missing from this session and it is a welcome addition to the aural stimuli. The candles seem to dance to its melody while the steam becomes a blanket of fog, surrounding the listening space with love and serenity.

Tribal Awakening is Drew Bennet’s debut CD and it is wonderful! The primary focus is the Native American flute but Drew embellishes its atmospheres with chants, percussion, an acoustic guitar, keyboards, chimes and — in a stroke of musical genius — quartz crystal singing bowls. The sound design incorporates the applicable overtones. The recording techniques enhance the atmospheres. The instruments speak to each other and interact with reverance and playfulness. The moods shift with the auras as the session revolves around itself — thus becoming its own focal point.

The music takes its own path and the session does not necessarily follow that path. The session brings the aural stimuli back into its fold. The somber tones set the stage for natural cleansing. The path to salvation must visit the nether regions — albeit briefly. (Longer visits have their purposes, too.) The session has become quite diverse, challenging and educational.

This is a fun CD that holds its own within or without a healing session. Drew has invoked the spirit of Kokopelli, a mischievous and playful spirit, and given him a wide berth. There are dozens — maybe hundreds — of CD’s in this style. This one is certainly in the upper echelon.

Steve Roach
Projekt Records
There might be better music for bringing a session full circle, but it is unlikely. Candles flicker as the wicks become smaller and the wax rolls into hot pools. The steam fountain, however, shows no signs of fading. The atmosphere and auras of Immersion, bt Steve Roach, surround the room and fill the air with delicate overtones.

While there are many listeners who would deem this to be a dark ambient CD, it is not dark at all. Steve does, indeed, perform this in a style that resembles his dark touches but this soundscape is more of a subtle awakening than a journey into the depths. It brings listeners into lighter areas of meditation. It serves to ground the session and bring it back from “the zone.”

It can also be used as the focus of a session. This superb long-form (73') composition is excellent for more subtle journeys that are not looking for intense cleansing or journeys beyond the edge. It allows practitioners to examine the areas just below the surface for an extended period of time. (Those are the areas that are usually visited on the way to and/or from a deeper session.)

On the other end of the spectrum, this is classic Steve Roach space music at its pure electronic best. Nobody does this quite like Steve. The drones and subtle melodies match the pastels and evoke the imagery of a slow sunrise on the Mojave Desert. There are no grooves and no beats but there is a distinct rhythm. It is the rhythm of dawn and the emergence of sensience.

This is an excellent CD! It is easy to recommend music by this legendary performer as essential because it is!


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