Published on CD reviews.com - Februray 2005
I'm not going to lie - reviewing instrumental music is no small task. It's much easier to wrap your brain around albums with vocals and lyrics, largely because they're the deciding factor as to whether the album is pleasant to listen to or not. But with instrumental discs, it's more difficult to distinguish one from the next. Not that they all sound the same, but they often evoke similar reactions - peacefulness, meditation, relaxation and a keen sense of spirituality. Having said that, Music Mosaic's Dreaming Didgeridoo really caught my ear on the first listen. The didgeridoo is such a fascinating instrument, stemming from Australian aboriginal culture dating back as far as 40,000 years! One fact about this amazing instrument that really caught my attention is how it's made - from tree limbs hallowed out by insects. Just as the didgeridoo is music made from nature, the songs featured on the Dreaming Didgeridoo compilation clearly echo its historical and spiritual complexity. The 12-track disc contains the didgeridoo in combination with mandolins, drums, keyboards, bells and wooden flutes; it blends with chants that make you feel like you're in Australia. Quite possibly one of the oldest instruments ever made, the didgeridoo makes a monotone humming sound, yet somehow it's layered with various harmonies and tribal fusion rhythms. Aside from songs that recall the aboriginal songs from long ago, there are a few tracks that emphasize the didgeridoo in modern music. In the song "Memories" by Charlie McMahon, violins and the quin (a Chinese zither, sounds like a harpsichord) beats along to the didgeridoo to create an almost otherworldly modern kick to the ancient instrument. Other highlights are "In-didj-iation" by Kamal, which has a stark introduction and transcends into New Age-sounding traces accompanied by the didgeridoo, which offers a different, almost-obo sound compared to the usual low resonating feel. "Quija" by Orocol brings the traditional instrument to the forefront with fading chants and hums in the background. The songs range from four to seven minutes, with none of them dragging on too long. Unless they've spent a great deal of time in Australia, few people ever get to really experience the special, historical instrument that is the didgeridoo. Music Mosaic does a great job compiling various songs that truly bring out the essence of this complex instrument, rich with history and culture.
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