Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Global Meditation: Voices of the Spirit, Songs and Chants

The Ellipsis Arts label was a sister firm to The Relaxation Company, a new age enterprise, and it would be easy to look at the graphics, titling and text of Ellipsis Arts' two box sets, Global Meditation and Global Celebration and reasonably conclude that the music was some hybrid of new age and world music, which to some people did seem to mesh during the late 1980s and early 1990s, when both were in vogue to some measure.

Actually, the Ellipsis Arts boxes were an exploration into the indigenous sources to the new age products that The Relaxation Company offered and it was obviously a very sincere effort, because the four-disc sets are tremendous compilations of the immense variety of native musics found throughout the world.  They are also organized thematically in ways that work very well. 

For this entry, the first disc of the first set, titled (awkwardly) "Voices of the Spirit, Songs and Chants" sets the tone for the remainder of the discs by drawing from "spiritual, ritual and meditative music" from a broad geographical range.  Recordings were obtained from Norway, Albania, aboriginal Australia, Bali and its amazing gamelan music, Hawaiian chanting, the pygmies of Gabon, Japan, England, Tibet, Dahomey, Algeria, and Russia.  They deal with various religious, ritualistic, and spiritual musics that blend remarkably well together--this is an excellent example of effective sequencing of disparate tracks.

The only real complaint is that the disc runs just under 50 minutes, when at least six more tracks or so could have been included.  And, yeah, that cover art and text content is dated.  On the other hand, a portion of the original sale of these discs was donated to The Rainforest Alliance, so Ellipsis Arts deserves kudos for that effort.

Eventually, the other seven discs from the two boxes will make their way onto this blog, because the music contained in the sets is really outstanding for those who enjoy so-called "world music" and you don't have to be of the so-called "new age" mindset to be greatly entertained by the excellent selections included in the sets.

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