By Jim Brenholts



Tibet: Nada Himalaya 2
New Earth Records

Deuter is a seasoned veteran in the new age music community. He has been creating and recording deep atmospheres and holistic soundscapes for about 34 years. His career places him on the cutting edge of the ambient music community as well.

Tibet: Nada Himalaya 2 is a follow-up to Nada Himalaya and it is an absolutely gorgeous presentation. Using Tibetan singing bowls and Tibetan bells, Deuter’s sound design forms massive and expansive atmospheres that can induce and enhance trances and healing environs.

The overtone properties of the bowls are hypnotic — almost narcotic — and allow deep listeners the opportunity to get inside of themselves by escaping the self. (The conundrum is intentional. Such is the circular nature of Deuter’s soundscapes.) They will find themselves immersed in this total healing environment as Deuter takes control of the neuropathways within the bio-sonic feedback device (the brain).

Through that route, it is easy to get in touch with the heart and the soul. Ceding control in such a manner is easy and rewarding. One of the truisms and axioms of life is “The only way to keep it is to give it away!” When the listener gives up control, the listener gains more control. With control comes humility. With humility comes serenity.

While it might be an overused term, this classic set is essential.

Pat Surface
The Long Goodbye
Spiritwood Music

Pat Surface created The Long Goodbye as a memorial to his father-in-law, Rocco Michael Passa-retti, a.k.a. Papa, a victim of Alzheimer’s. The CD supports development of an integrated medical approach to the prevention and treatment of this disease.

Featuring 14 tracks, the disc has five originals, four traditionals and four written by Pat’s contemporaries. It also has a strong endorsement by Pete Seeger, the folk music icon.

The supporting musicians are Eli Bissonett on violin, Robin Adrian Anders on drums, tabla, djembe and background vocals, Paul Imholte on viola and lead LaPlant guitar and Kristal Sauls on cello. Pat is on vocals and acoustic LaPlant guitar.

This is a tremendous performance entrenched firmly in the heart of acoustic folk music! The music is sweet and sublime. Pat’s vocals are strong and beguiling. The airs are gentle and serene. They are bittersweet as Pat’s memories are fond, but Papa’s struggles were sad.

The set begins and ends with beautiful renditions of Ashokan Farewell, made famous in Ken Burns Civil War. It also includes a gentle instrumental version of Will the Circle Be Unbroken. There are — quite simply — no mistakes on this disc. (I must confess that, even though this is not even close to my preferred styles of music, I love this CD!)

This is essential listening for all fans of folk music. Non-fans will enjoy it as well.

Marco Missinato
Dog Dreams
Relaxing Music for Dogs
& Dog Lovers, Vol. 1
Pets Love Music
The music on Dog Dreams: Relaxing Music for Dogs & Dog Lovers, Vol. 1 is absolutely lovely. Marco Missinato composed and — presumably — performs it. (There are no performer credits listed in the liner notes.) The gentle strings are smooth, serene and — as the title states — relaxing.

However, the liner notes proclaim, “Serene and spirited strings evoke profound love between you and your best friend (meaning your dog).” That is entirely too much! Even in these enlightened times, love songs for animals are way over the edge. The most open-minded individuals must be skeptical. Others might be downright cynical. (I guess I am in that category.)

Please do not read this wrong! This is a great set of neo-classical music. Intent be damned, this music is great! Marco is a superb composer. His gentle acoustics surround listeners with fluffy melodies and smooth atmospheres. While there is no psychoactivity, there does not have to be. Sometimes enjoyment and entertainment are enough to relax the mind and the soul. Indeed, sometimes they are all that is needed.

So, when the focus is on the music, this is a highly-regarded performance and a very cool CD! The compositions are strong, the performances are phenomenal and it is great background ambience. For those reasons alone, this is a great CD! Also available are Dog Dreams, Vol. 2 and Cat Dreams, Vol. 1 and 2.

Wayne Shorter
The Life and Music
of Wayne Shorter
Columbia Legacy
Wayne Shorter is one of the great saxophonists of all time. He has performed with some of the all-time jazz greats — Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul (with Weather Report) and others. Footprints: The Life and Music of Wayne Shorter is a look at his career from 1959 through 2001. The CD encompasses the aforementioned collaborations and group projects, his solo work and work as a studio musician (behind Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell). It is a double CD with 22 selections arranged chronologically.

The first disc covers 1959 thru 1975 and is exclusively jazz, mostly on the soft and relaxed side of the genré. The latter part covers his work with Weather Report and is more progressive in its style. These are, indeed, classic tracks and important in the annals of great jazz.

Disc Two represents the next phase of his career and is definitely a mixed bag of progressive jazz, AOR (album oriented rock — Steely  Dan’s classic Aja from their classic album of the same name) and scat vocals (Joni Mitchell’s The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines from her classic Mingus). While some purists might scoff at these and other tracks, these are still important milestones in the history of the genré.

The entire set is excellent jazz. While it stops short of relaxing, meditative and/or healing sound-scapes, it is great music for listening and enjoying.

Dean Evenson,
Singh Kaur and the Soundings Ensemble
Imagine Peace
Soundings of the Planet
Dean Evenson is a master musician and a superb sound designer. Singh Kaur, a.k.a. Lorellei, is a marvelous vocalist and an excellent guitarist and keyboardist. They are both world class composers and forward thinkers striving to improve the universe through music — one note at a time!

Imagine Peace is a wonderful set of sweet melodies and acoustic ambience dedicated to nature and the healing arts. They start with a deep interpretation of John Lennon’s classic Imagine. The Soundings Ensemble — Tom Barabas, Don Reeve, Sergey Kuryokhin, Dudley Evenson, Matt Findstrom, Stu Mortimer and Mike Walsh — provides world class accompaniment to the event.

While Dean has used electronics and overtone devices in the past, this CD is almost exclusively acoustic and it is still very effective as a holistic healing tool. The gentle melodies wend their way through and around each other as they create gentle clouds of peace and harmony.

Focused listeners will take the ride willingly and effortlessly as Dean and Singh become tour guides on an introspective journey that yields answers, questions and more answers. The diversity of the experience is unique to the listener and his/her state of spirit. Each adventure is different and each difference is an adventure!

This might not be his best effort but it is an excellent and a worthy addition to any holistic healing collection. The depth, clarity and singleness of his purpose have never been keener. 

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