Reviews 03-16-2002


Music Reviews 


Voyage of the Soul

by Frederic Delarue

Visit Frederick Delarue's website




I'm not sure which is more interesting - Frederic Delarue's story or his first US release, "Voyage of the Soul". The French-born composer was in a life-altering car accident at the age of eleven, where he encountered "angels and beings of light", and he has channeled his musical talents for healing and spiritual growth ever since. Testimonials on his website  tell of laying-on of hands in concerts and of summoning angels and beings of light to the stage as well as within the audience to bring about healing. Delarue has also established "Your Name in Music", where he creates a piece of music based on the person's name, connecting him or her to a higher self. This is pretty heady stuff, but the CD is full of ethereal, blissful music that will calm and soothe whether or not you are in search of your angels. Some of the music reminds me a little bit of 2002 and some of Yanni's early work, but Delarue certainly has his own musical voice. One track, "Future of the Sea" was featured on Real Music's compilation, "Cousteau's Dream".

"Voyage of the Soul" is a collection of twelve original pieces that "pay tribute to the forces of nature, celebrate the human spirit, and propel the listener on an otherworldly journey into cosmic realms". The pieces range from ambient and ethereal to quite rhythmic and upbeat. The "voyage" begins with "Higher Voice", a beautiful, floating piece with angelic voices behind an instrumental base that evokes the feeling of drifting out in space. "Dream Within a Dream" is a fascinating blend of instruments and musical styles. With a strong rhythmic track along with piano, flutes, and many other sounds, this piece seems to be propelled by the sheer love and joy of making music. Although the melody is poignant in sections, this piece is full of sunshine and smiles. "Future of the Sea" is another favorite. One of the more ambient pieces, it is melancholy but hopeful. The title track is an ambitious twelve minute piece that begins with a lovely piano solo and builds slowly, adding new voices, sounds, and drama. Also ambient and floating, it is very peaceful and soothing. "Reflection" has a bittersweet piano-based melody that I really love. "Promenade" is a surprise with its bagpipes and playful nature - a delightful diversion! "Agape" is truly "French" in spirit - again, light, upbeat, and completely charming. "Full Circle" closes the set with angel voices and the feeling of drifting in the clouds.

Frederic Delarue has created an excellent "Voyage" with this CD. The music is so heartfelt and sincere that you can't help but be swept away by it. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this CD many times in several different settings, and recommend it very highly. It is available from,, and

This Kathy Parsons review originally reviewed for  Mainly Piano website. It is reprinted here on Ambient Visions with permission.


Hearing Voices

by Will Ackerman

Visit Will Ackerman's website


What do Adiemus, Dead Can Dance and Will Ackerman all have in common?  On the surface, the answer would be apparently, "not much."  However, Will Ackerman, the legendary guitar player and founder of Windham Hill records has broken his lengthy silence and resurfaced with a new album, "Hearing Voices." And hearing them we are, as for the first time in Ackerman's career, he teams up with seven world-class vocalists to create an album joining his virtuoso guitar with the sound of the human voice-as-instrument.

Ackerman's liner notes indicate that he was less interested in creating "stories" than he was in finding an expression, an emotional outlet that involved that most expressive of all instruments, the human voice. This is why most of the songs are not sung in English; the languages used range from Italian to Luganda (a Ugandan dialect) to even a made-up language, a la Adiemus. None of the vocalists was given a preview of the music; they were invited into the studio and asked to improvise heavily. The result is an astounding, highly listenable album.

There the comparison to Adiemus and Dead Can Dance ends.  "Hearing Voices" is mellower, and at times even more melancholy than DCD.  The album flows smoothly, despite the many different influences, languages and inflections.  Ackerman's guitar sparkles throughout, ably assisted at times by keyboardist Phil Aaberg, bassist T-Bone Wolk, percussionists Jeff Haynes and Bob Muller, guitarist Marc Schulman, and violinist Charlie Bisharat.

This is not a "party" album. It's an album for reflection. It's an eclectic mix of spiritual, emotional, artistic and inspirational music. Don't try to make sense of the songs' words. Just enjoy.

Reviewed by Fred Puhan for Ambient Visions.


Dance Planet 

by Various Artists

Visit Music Mosaic's website

Music Mosaic is a new label from the land down under and they have released a series of CD's since last year that "encourages all cultures and nations to live together respectfully on our planet Earth." All of their releases so far have been compilations that cover a different style of music and they proceed to present a worldview of that style of music by exposing us to a wide variety of practitioners of it from around the world. Lotus Groove, Didgeridoo Trance Dance, Healing Sounds and Inner Peace are some of the titles that they have released so far with each having a unique and distinct style of music being spotlighted.

While many of the artists that have been assembled in these packages may be unfamiliar to many of our readers there are those names that stand out immediately as very recognizable including the likes of Jai Uttal, Gabrielle Roth, Georgia Kelly, Steven Halpern, Kamal and Karunesh. These names do give you some idea of the range of styles that are covered in these collections but the one thing that I have learned about music is that great music comes from the those who don't have recognizable names as much as it does from the "stars" of any given genre.

Dance Planet is their latest effort in this ongoing series and it certainly lives up to its name. With pulsing beats and high energy on most of the cuts it carries the listener on a world wide journey into the land of trance, dance and world music. The music does not maintain a high trance level throughout as it moves from the beat driven synthesizer pieces to the flamenco dance stylings of Gypsy Moon's cut called Luna Piena

The driving hynotic beat of Watsi Watsi by Don Peyote on track 3 lets Dance Planet begin to reach the full potential of its title. Dominated by beats and rhythms this song reaches down into your soul and says get up out of your seat and move. At 7:37 (longest on the disc) there is ample time for this piece to take the listener on a trancing journey and bring them back. This is a stand out cut on this disc and Don Peyote's synthesizer work is top notch.

Other tracks that caught my attention as I moved through this eclectic collection of dance music  were Mirror by Chillum (track 8)  which kept my feet bouncing the whole time while the beat poured through my headphones in my late night listening session. Earth Dance Dreamtime opens the disc and it grabs your attention right away with its aboriginal sounds and persistent beat. And finally Shakuhaji Tales gives us Kamal at his trancey best. High marks for this percussion driven piece with some very interesting programmed instruments and some creative voice work that adds to the overall effect.

Dance Planet is a good CD and one that I would own but I could have wished for more continuity in the choice of the styles of music that were chosen to become part of this mix. Many of the tracks would be right at home in the middle of a good John Digweed set but there are a couple of tracks that just take the momentum and let it dissipate by moving the listener into a completely different frame of mind for a few minutes before taking them back to trance and dance land. This is a minor complaint though since most of the tracks keep you moving and grooving all the way through. Take a listen, I'm sure you will like what you hear.

Reviewed by Michael Foster for Ambient Visions



by Richard Bone

Visit Marleen's excellent Richard Bone resource website

This album begins with a soft jingling of bells and unhurried meditative sounds of piano. The music of Richard Bone awakens you by its first accords and involves you in its slightly strange, otherworldly, miraculous action. It disorientates you, and you absolutely don't know what is going to happen, and you just have to prepare to perceive the unavoidable.

And so it starts. Together with the uterine plangent sound rhythm appears, and echoes of a charming female voice within it. The rhythms are detective and increasingly dramatic. The melody recalls more and more the music of the Middle East, but you are not listening to a music from this planet's past. You are listening to the music of Cosmic East, full of mysteries, as if you turned to be somewhere in the future, within the great Eurasian civilization. And then you are planing in your imagination over the huge space of the Great Deserts and giant megalopolises, changing voluntarily the direction of your flight, not stopping for a moment. Your eyes are fixing green oases and dark brown branches of mountains.

The name of the new album by Richard Bone - "Disorient" - is not occasional. This music really makes you drop all the expectations and the habitual templates..

You have to be extremely flexible. And then your ears will not be deceived by the sounds of a cosmic Shangri-La, full of chirrup of unknown birds; they are followed by a melody of passion. Now it is an intimate communication of two lovers, an ecstasy, overflowing bliss of bodies and emotions.

Speaking about the music of Richard Bone, I use the word "cosmic" expressly; it has a vast inner space and depth. The musician reveals for you his universe and you can see that it is shoreless. It scares you a little and at the same time excites you. This Infinity, which is behind the sounds of the arabesque melodies of Richard Bone, stimulates your imagination and takes away your whole somnolence.

Music of the album "Disorient" is harmonic in its unpredictability. That is a reality of a higher rank. It belongs not to the world of the slave civilizations, but to the world of spiritual beings. Richard Bone isn't afraid to change, and he is honest to his listeners. He is not going to replicate the successful findings of past projects, but moves to new and newer ideas.

And as always, reviewing the projects of Richard Bone, I can mark the excellent, perfect sound design of his new album "Disorient". This music enshrouds you, and you forget about everything else.

"Disorient" is an hour of pleasure, a joy for a music gourmand, an unbelievably juicy and fragrant exotic fruit, delivered with care from some far lands, still unknown for the travelers.

I have not heard something comparative in respect of internal power and greatness of impact for a long time.

It's time to drop our somnolence; it's time to know us and to make clear the things that are not understood yet. Change of the guidelines and breaking of the conventional, established life. Bright colors outside you and new horizons within you. "Disorient" is the fantastic bliss of being alive...  

P.S. Translated by Andrej Karatkevich.

Review by Serge Kozolovsky reprinted here with permission.

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The Demo: Previously Unreleased Material

by AutoCad/Pantheist


There are two tracks on this release. The first track is over 20 minutes in length.

ParaCom Extended Remix, starts off with a very old school trance beat. Fast and furious, sometimes hard driving into a drum and bass piece, only to revert back to its original form.  The transitions throughout the track are smooth and rewarding. At times the piece resembles some hypnotic acid trance, as highlighted in track two, at the 09:02 mark. Soon the mood changes again, but we are treated to some reoccurring melodies. It's a rather energetic mix of old school trance and modern euphoria.

The second mix, Extended Trance Mix is a nice mix of ambience and trance. This mix is also over 20 minutes in length. The ambience is nicely layered. Slowly the ambience soon becomes a fast mix of electronics, driving forth only to mellow its tone and put us into "afterdrive". The euphoria builds throughout the mix. The melody starts to drift across the darkened sky, becoming a very emotional high, as with 16:16 into the mix. The euphoria highlighted with an undertow of a consistent 4/4 beat, layering into emotional bliss. Slowly peaking back into reality the last two minutes allow you to take a deep breathe.

Reviewed by Jack the Tab for Ambient Visions


Spirit into Sound

by Mickey Hart

Visit Mickey Hart's website


Mickey Hart is a musical genius.  His Planet Drum projects hinted at the depth of that genius.  Supralingua proved the depths.  Spirit into Sound confirms the depths.

This is an awesome CD!  The entire soundscape is performed on acoustic, mostly ethnic, instruments.  The expert sound design gives the music a full and large sound.

The expert performance glues listeners to the headphones or speakers or whatever.  This music demands attention!  It is gentle, vibrant, dynamic and relaxing.  It has biorhythmic power!

Rebeca Mauleon co-wrote 11 of the 12 tracks.  She also performs on those tracks.  Zakir Hussain, Rahsaan Fredricks, Bob Weir, Bobi Cespedes, Haroon Tahir and Ustad Sultan Khan are the other guest performers.

This is essential world music!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


Switched-on-Bach 2000

by Wendy Carlos

Visit Wendy Carlos' website



Wendy Carlos is e-music's premier transcriber of classical music.  While her volume of such interpretations is not as large as Isao Tomita's, the depth and soul of her arrangements exceeds his.  (Don't read this wrong.  I am also a big fan of Isao.)

Switched-on-Bach 2000 is a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the original Switched-on-Bach (released in 1967).  This disc features all new digital performances and a nice mix of Bach selections.  Some of them are orchestral and some are for solo instruments.  Wendy performs all of them meticulously and expertly.

Her style and grace are paramount and she not only maintains the depth and charm of the original pieces, she adds her own flair and creates new and deeper responses.  Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor, the Halloween perennial, had never sounded this scary before.

Wendy's genius is unparalleled in the annals of e-music history.  This disc, a fresh version of an old approach, shows why.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


Trance Appeal

by Wahnfried

Visit Klaus Schulze's website



Klaus Schulze collaborates with other artists under the pseudonym of Richard Wahnfried (or just Wahnfried).  He also uses that alias to extend his range and perform in other styles.

On Trance Appeal, he collaborates with Jorg Schaaf.  This is a deep, somewhat dark and very experimental - almost avant-garde - set of Berlin school ambience.  That term is unexpected but this is unexpected music.  Klaus and Jorg stretch the limits of the Berlin school.  The dense and unusual atmospheres are both cosmic and organic. 

This is the ultimate e-music juxtaposition.  It is as if Klaus and Jorg are on an outer space journey to earth!  they are composing and performing as aliens from a different planet.  The environs of Earth are strange and foreign but the organic translation persists.

In the Wahnfried discography, this is the best disc.  It is certainly Klaus's most original effort and one of his overall best CD's!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


Cobalt Blue

by Michael Brook



Cobalt Blue is a classic ambient hybrid from Michael Brook, one of the virtuosos of the e-music community.

Michael is one of the pioneers of combining traditional ethnic influences with modern electronic sensibilities.  His multi-instrumental talents and the depth of his vision allow him the range to create massive soundscapes that do not overpower.

The soundscapes on this CD are perfect ambience as defined by Brian Eno.  (They also have strong references to My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, a tribal influenced album by Eno and David Byrne.)  The music is subtle enough to be ignored and deep enough to be the focus.

The gentle rhythms hook into deep listeners.  The extensive culture pique interest.  The arrangements send listeners to the zone.

This classic CD is essential world class crossover ambience.  It is an important addition to any collection.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


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