Paradiso & Rasamayi: Attuning to Oneness

paradis_onenessFor a disc that falls into the “healing music” modality, Attuning to Oneness, from Paradiso and Rasamayi, spends much of its time bordering–a bit surprisingly–on the shadowy side of things. Perhaps it’s the throaty song of the didgeridoo, the hushed peal of the Tibetan bowls or the dreamy, distant chants and vocals that wash through like passing ghosts. That being said, however, this didge-driven meditation is quite capable of taking the listener in and down, and of using the power of sound to salve mind and spirit. Both musicians are sound healers by trade, and they understand how to best use the resonant aspects of their respective instruments. Paradiso’s didgeridoo rises up from below, primitive and potent, to curl around the listener and open their energy centers. I happen to love the sound of the didge, and often feel affected by it–either listening or playing–so this aspect of the disc is right in my target area. The middle stretch of “Wisdom Warrior” is serious medicine, as the didge gets paired up with chant and throat singing for a major dose of chakra-shaking vibration. The didge’s mesmerizing power gets even stronger in “Staying the Path,” and this is also where the ride gets surprisingly dark. Drums rumble as the stick talks in a serpentine voice, and Rasamayi floats mournful chords into the mix. It’s a gorgeous piece, and very effective; the tension it imparts–again, while retaining that hypnotic quality–catches me pleasantly off-guard. On the other/lighter side of the sonic equation  Rasamayi’s bowls ring down from above in many of the tracks here, their sharp clarity standing out in counterpoint to Paradiso’s low end. Her voice, too, is a lovely and effective guide along this path, taking gentle hold of the traveler’s hand and leading the way. It is warm, comforting, and reassuring.

The one mis-step for me comes with the last track, “All is Love.” After the better part of an hour being washed over with sound flows and wordless or vaguely worded chants, which let the listener hear the music’s voice on their own terms, the clearly sung lyrics here feel a little intrusive. Whereas everything else was very intimate and based in the listener’s own response to the sound, these words, which feel a bit wedged into place, detract at the exact point where the listener should be allowed to simply come up out of their immersion.

Overall, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Attuning to Oneness; I am not usually a healing-music listener, but this disc departs from my perception of what that term usually means. The “sound-healing” aspect is definitely there, in that what’s presented is definitely something you feel as you listen. I do believe that we can be viscerally affected by sound (I admit that my vote is still out in terms of a physical effect), and I have been so affected by my several dives into Attuning to Oneness. Obviously, this disc will appeal more to those listeners who buy into the modality, but it’s definitely a disc that should be heard and experienced regardless.

Available beginning in March from 5th Element Music.

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