In this very enjoyable New Age offering, flute, guitar, sitar, and esraj (something like a bowed sitar) harmonize over quiet synthesizer lines and piano for an hour. The breathiness of the flute, the resonant hum of the strings, and the unhurried pace produce a quite meditation-worthy space in which to dwell. Tim White’s work on the bamboo flute and strings creates soporific structures that maintain a melodic character as they massage your brain into welcome submission. Joe Paulino’s piano lays lush and solid counterpoints to its more floaty partners in sound, and the synth work slips in like a shadow in the background. The five pieces here are quite long enough, with the shortest running almost nine minutes, to allow the listener to fully give themselves over and fall well and deeply into White and Paulino’s laid-back musings. It has to be said that the formula at work, the interplay of sounds, doesn’t shift a whole lot as the disc proceeds. But that’s okay, as it creates a smooth, absolutely ripple-free surface for reflection. There’s also enough individual character to the tracks to differentiate waypoints in the flow. “In-Joy” stands out for the light Spanish flair of the guitar and its conversational back-and-forth exchanges with the piano and flute. The subtle vibrato of the electric keys in “Island Pulse” call to mind Steve Halpern’s crystal piano pieces from the 80s. The sitar and esraj in the first two tracks are as tasty as a good palak paneer, and just as satisfying as they hum you to a well-lulled state of mind. Overall, Inhale Slowly benefits from a wonderful, heartfelt organic tone. You feel to your core the vibration of the strings, you sense the warmth of the breath across the flute. You just forget, as it goes along, that there’s anything but the music. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Turn this one on at the next sunset. Pour yourself a glass of something enjoyable, kick back and listen to the music and just let it wash past. Time well spent.
Available at inhaleslowly.com.