MUSIC REVIEWS
By Chuck Diliberto 

 

 

SEARCHING FOR SATYAM
Deepak Ram
No Problem Productions
Every musician allows us to peer through an open window to get a glimpse of what is inside their creative domain. In “Searching for Satyam”, Deepak Ram has combined traditional and contemporary styles to throw open many windows. 

The music is distinctively Jazz. The slick funk and groove that makes Jazz appealing is fused with flamenco style guitars, raga inflected tabla playing, modern guitar picking, solid bass lines, and Ram’s poignantly soulful flute playing. The synthesis created is familiar, yet sonically unique when listening to the interpretive roles established by a variety of instruments not usually played in tandem. 

Ram uses his flute in varying ways. He is comfortable substituting for the lead lines of a guitar, stretching the melody much in the same way as a lead guitarist. He also plays his flute to match the sharp attack of a saxophone, pushing the rhythm to new heights. This musical diversity is in contrast with Ram playing the flute in a conventional sense. His notes have a haunting sustain, plaintive, yet expressive and ethereal. Ram has instilled each composition with an unusual mood, reflective and sometimes mysterious. The resultant music is trance inducing, profound, eloquent, emotional, moving, and Spiritual while still commercially viable to the listening public. Check this one out. 

For more information, please call (201) 433-3907. 

 

ORCHID
Shao Rong 
Pacific Moon Records

In Shao Rong’s “Orchid” we are treated to the exotic sounds of a Chinese lute or Pipa. We have heard this instrument in the soundtracks of movies that have scenes in Asian locales. Shao Rong is a virtuoso, her interpretation of this traditional Chinese instrument, (it is more than 2000 years old), is personal, soulful, and sensual. 

The lute has a sound that is akin to the mandolin and banjo. The strings have distinctive sounds that resonate with vibrato when picked or strummed. The feelings and moods conveyed were an integral part of Rong’s creativity and soul. She has uniquely fit this ancient instrument into modern musical settings without losing its simple sonic textures. In this way Rong has found the lute as a vehicle for her soul’s vision, establishing a creative prerogative to explore and express her sensual romanticism. I’m sure the Chinese lute has had many players over the centuries, yet, I am willing to venture few have brought to this instrument the artistic license inherent in Shao Rong’s musicianship. 

Rong’s music, in conjunction with other ancient Chinese instruments, and the addition of the more modern instruments, guitar, bass and piano is a pleasure to listen to. There is a natural beauty of work here, delicate, yet hearty, colorful, not flashy, hence the title “Orchid”. Rong represents an unassuming role as a musician, breathing fresh air into an ancient instrument without losing any of the original mystique or history. “Orchid” is a vibrant work that deserves a serious listen. 

For information, please see www.pacificmoon.com 

 

OF THE FOREST 
Paul Eugene Beck 
Red Lodge Records 
Poet, philosopher, musician, sage, naturalist, seeker, and artist, Paul Beck is a multi-combination of these roles. He unquestionably has something to say, opening his heart, mind and soul in a vulnerable display of wisdom and consciousness. Beck, baring himself through his music, comes off genuine and sincere. If you’re looking for a Rock Star you are not going to find one here. 

Musically, Beck fits neatly into the folk-rock niche. He plays acoustic and electric guitars while handling lead and harmony vocals. His songs have likable melodies and pleasant rhythms. Each song is musically crafted to fit the mood and message of the lyrics. The songs have plenty of hooks with the potential for commercial viability on easy-listening radio stations. 

Lyrically it is a little more difficult to pin Beck down. His words symbolize analogies and allegories, alluding to metaphors of wilderness, wildlife, and everyday life to get his points across. He is certainly a hopeless romantic, with the wind in his hair, and the sun overhead, the “Forest: is his inspiration and connection to his soul. Paul Beck is unassuming and innocent, he sees the world through the eyes of a manchild. This is his first release and a fine effort indeed. 

For more information, please call (888) 476-8745. 

 

THE DAWN OF ANANDA 
Annie Haslam 
White Dove Records 
Often in life we are presented with challenges that ostensibly resemble trials and tribulations. In the course of these challenges sometimes we are brought face to face with mortality. The choice to accept life or death is never an easy one, for Annie Haslam, the discovery of breast cancer in 1993 brought her life full circle. Her choice to live lead her to direct contact with her Angel guides. The “Dawn of Ananda” (Ananda means bliss in Hindu) is an evolution of Haslam’s awakening and healing. 

For those of you familiar with Haslam’s former band “Rennaissance”, (1972-1987), her vocal prowess will come as no surprise. Annie has an ethereal edged voice, sweet, expressive, sensitive, and passionate. Her emotive style can bring to life any lyric. This CD is developed with Haslam’s personal experiences with trans-dimensional beings. Her lyrics are depictive of other-worldly encounters conducted in real time. Impressive is Haslam’s sincerity and integrity when she sings about her Angels. She is by no means proselytizing her Spirituality, or offering any explanation or proof. Annie Haslam has had a life-changing meeting, her heart and soul opened to a deeper realm of truth, understanding and communication. 

The supporting music is finely orchestrated to capture every nuance of meaning and emotion in Haslam’s lyrics. Piano keys chime as strings cast exquisite shadows upon the loosely-structured commercial Rock-n-Roll sounds. Annie Haslam has returned with a profound zeal for life and love. It’s nice to have her back! 

For more information, please call (310) 979-9227. 

 

FEET IN THE SOIL
Volume 2 
James Asher New Earth Records
 
James Asher uses Africa as his musical backdrop to create a percussive soundscape that is both tribal and contemporary in its musical extend. “Feet in the Soil” is an analogy for dancing with the Earth’s energy. Asher has produced a resourceful symposium on the merits of drumming for ritual dancing. 

The music is layered and textured. A variety of traditional percussion instruments combined with keyboards, recorder, bass and electric guitars, trumpet, saxophone and tribal chanting set the mood. James Asher explored an assortment of tribal inclinations. He used different drums to express the many inroads into one’s consciousness. His compositions ranged from reflective, to melancholy, eerie, spacey, somewhat romantic and intense. In Asher’s attempt to present realistic trance music with a modern edge, he has produced a homogeneous blend that has enough ingredients to satisfy a diverse listening audience. 

“Feet in the Soil” represents a fusion of musical ideas, cultures, and rituals. The theme of connecting with the Earth’s energies is an open door that allows for our own individual perspectives to make that connection. If tribal music moves you to dance, then please dance. If it moves you to be introspective, then become meditative. The end result is the same, we are returned to the essence of our being, endless and limitless, free in our bliss and expression of soul. James Asher wants your feet in the same soil his are planted in, get ready to get dirty.

For more information, please call (888) 245-4481. 

Chuck Diliberto is a resident of New York State. Having written for a hometown publication that covered local and national musicians, reviewing CDs is an extension of that experience. His main interests are spiritual in nature and right living in practice.


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