I like the idea: pairing Native American flute with modern, uptempo rhythmic backdrops. What I like somewhat less on Oakensong’s Flutecore is the actual execution. Having listened to it several times now, I think that the underlying problem for me is that it often feels like Oakensong (aka Victor Eijkhout) tries too hard to infuse cool, to do the “new music for old souls” thing. The result can be a heavy-handed sound that plods along rather than dances. First impressions count, and Oakensong’s opening piece, “Rain in the Canyon,” devolves by the track’s end into a muddled briar patch of confused sound that had me hurrying to skip it. Listening to it made me wary about going forward. A later track, “The Flute Also Dances,” has a similar effect, that feeling of forcibly jamming together musical thoughts that could work well if they were more gently dovertailed into a single idea. When Oakensong keeps his music closer to the source, he truly hits the mark. The too-short “Dirt Roads” is a nice piece where the flute absolutely sings across understated accompaniment–it shines because it keeps things simple and knows where its strength comes from. The windy swirl of “The Spring at Dusk” is a potent sound-prayer, a dervish that picks up power as it picks up speed. For me, Flutecore is an uneven and uncertain disc with underlying promise. Eijkhout is a talented flautist; it’s just that the concept behind the disc doesn’t carry his playing well.
Available from Oakensong’s web site.