Saturday, July 25, 2009

Between "Dharana" 1974

Dharana (Vertigo 1974)
Genre: World Music, Krautrock, New Age
Album Legnth: 43:41
Best Song: 'Listen To The Light'

1. Joy... Sadness... Joy 11.10
2. Om Namo Buddhaya 2.38
3. Sunset 3.05
4. Listen To The Light 6.25
5. Dharana 21.50
6. Voice Of Silence 17.32*
*=Bonus Track

Apparently, Between front man Peter Michael Hamel's musical ambition was to create a new musical genre. It is safe to say that 'Dharana', Between's third album, is successful in this venture. This album combines the delicate balance of New Age world music similar to Deuter, with the poetic nature of meditative Popol Vuh, while also attaining a great deal of pre-ambient Eno styling. The album features the Popol Vuh contributor, Robert Eliscu, on oboe and flute. The two longer pieces are largely improvised, allowing the individual musicians time to solo throughout. Track one, 'Joy... Sadness... Joy', written by Eliscu, strikes me as sounding much like mid-period Popol Vuh, whereas the title track 'Dharana' is a free form orchestra exploring unchartered ethnic rhythms and soundscapes. 'Om Namo Buddhaya' has a distinct eastern feel dominated by tanpura, flute and mystical chanting. Moving westward, 'Sunset' is a short Spanish guitar piece showcasing Argentinian Roberto Detree's skillful playing. 'Listen To The Light' is a curious, uplifting soundscape dominated by the SWF symphony orchestra. Soft and subtle, this track contains a delicate balance of musical notes which create a unique atmosphere similar to, but predating that heard on Brian Eno's 'Discreet Music'. As a bonus, the CD contains the 17-minute 'Voice Of Silence', the title track to Hamel's second solo album released in 1973. 'Voice' is a long meditative soundscape featuring traditional Indian vocal patterns. Dharana is a wonderfully diverse album which might turn some folks off with its New Age tendencies, but I feel those who give it a shot will be in for a treat! [5/5 Doug]

Peter Michael Hamel - Keyboards, Organ
Robert Eliscu - Oboe, Flute
Roberto Detree - Guitar, Bass
Cotch Black - Congas
Charles Campbell - Congas

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