Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2013

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Page 39 of 51

art & soul MUSIC Meg Bowles The Shimmering Land W hen space music expands into the terrain of classical composition, the magic of this genre is greatly expanded. Meg Bowles, a classically trained musician, offers contemplative, graceful music marked by purposeful movement, counterpoint, distinctly different sections, shifting textures and specific emotionalism. A student of Jungian psychology and shamanism, Bowles has been recording since 1993, and The Shimmering Land moves even more deeply into sighing chords, slowly shifting and gently unfolding melodies that dance quietly together. She invites you to journey along into "shadowy" places only hinted at in ancient legends, and the lore of the mythical Avalon. If awe and wonder are kindred destinations for you regarding the cosmos and celestial bodies, this full-scale immersion via ambient orchestral soundscapes will be exquisitely pleasing. www.megbowlesmusic.com —Lloyd Barde Fat Freddy's Drop Ravi Shankar DEBASHISH BHATTACHARYA "C ertain intoxications have a positive effect on a person," Indian slide guitar master Debashish Bhattacharya recently told me. "Over years of such intoxication, it is converted to an addiction—an addiction that does not harm or injure the person, but rather enhances his breath, health and inner peace." The title of this Grammy-nominated musician's latest five-track album, Madeira, means just that: intoxication. Featuring vocals and swarmandal (40-string Indian harp) by his 16-year-old daughter Anandi on two tracks, the true heart of this album is the 20-minute "Morning Gait," a slowly moving raga that gently builds steam, symbolically representing one's journey from awakening into the full sunlight of day. The other two instrumentals— the 13-minute "Jhoom" and epic 16-minute title track—feature Bhattacharya's brother, Subhasis, on tabla, and show why this musician has played more than 3,000 performances over 30 years of touring. He is masterful in every sense of the word. (Riverboat Records) —Derek Beres 40 wholelifetimesmagazine.com Blackbird R eggae is often the first word to mind when hearing New Zealand's Fat Freddy's Drop, due to the one drops, dubs, staccato rhythms and punchy brass stabs. Yet the soulful vocals of Joe Dukie and strong beats by Chris 'Fitchie' Faiumu point to others: hip-hop and '70s American soul, most prominently. They broke their nation's sales record with their independently released debut, Based on a True Story, and now Blackbird is the band's third fulllength release in an incredible decade-long career. The production is top notch: Fitchie's beats on the nine-and-a-half minute title track and the ultra-swaggering "Russia" are the band's hardest yet. The first singles, "Clean the House" and "Silver & Gold," represent their R&B love; they return to house-sized beats on "Never Moving," a habit begun on Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW. Yet there's something about a ballad that never fails, and this time around it's "Soldier" that stays in your mind long after the music stops. (The Drop/!K7) —DB

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