Universe to Come is a recording that has grown on me after
repeated listenings. My initial reaction was that I'd become
overdosed with "world" music recordings, and my fear
was that I'd be subjected to more eastern-sounding droning complete
with finger cymbals, tablas, sitars, and the like. And I wasn't
looking forward to it.
But the true measure of musical
originality is making something old sound new. And I confess, Jim Wilson,
the producer and "guiding light" behind Tulku
has managed to accomplish just this. This should really not
come as a surprise; Wilson is a Grammy(r)-nominated producer,
composer and instrumentalist. His music has been featured in
motion picture soundtracks and he is considered by many to be a
pioneer in the field of the world music genre. Thus, this Tulku
album (the third under this rubric) blends a myriad of world
influences, and the result is a mix that transcends genre classification.
According to the liner notes, Tulku
means the emergence of an old soul into a new body, and that's what
this album is about on a number of levels. The first is, as
described above, the making of something new. The second is the
musical vogage that's undertaken, the merging of influences from the
Aboriginal, to Persian, Egyptian, Mayan, and Native American.
Bringing these diverse styles into a fluid, cohesive offering results
in something that can only be termed spiritual in nature. Employing
musical talent as diverse, such as Jai Uttal and Tim Reynolds
(of the Dave Matthews Band) is a surefire guarantee of success
in this endeavor.
Reading the track titles can be
just as illuminating: "Dub Gubbi," "Ayahuasca
(a psychotropic "tea" brewed in the jungles of
Central and South America) Healing," "Rahda
Ramana" -- you get the idea -- divulge the diversity of
influences. And as the album moves from "Dub"
uptake to the more ambient pieces (not quite trip- hop, but along
that line) such as "Temple Door" and "In
The Garden Of Nothing," the listener is swept along on
a journey that engages, and sometimes captivates.
Reviewed by Fred Puhan for