Andreas Vollenweider's Grammy-winning effort is dominated by the Swiss musician's electrically modified harp. Its distinctive sound runs throughout the album, supported by the usual tinkering synthesizer effects and light percussion. After an extended introductory interlude, the title track zips into a vaguely Caribbean-styled rhythm. "Water Moon" features a different, more organic harp sound; it's mixed with the windy tones of a flute, suggesting ghostly moonshafts lancing through falling rain. Vollenweider plays the harp strings off of guitar strings on the surprisingly twangy (for new age, anyway) "Drown in Pale Light." The composer weaves the album's instrumentals together with a goody bag of pan-ethnic influences; the album's margins are full of these little touches that nevertheless make a big difference. Down to the Moon will appeal to anyone looking for music that's as interesting as it is soothing.
One of the coolest albums ever cut by Japanese wood flute player Hozan Yamamoto – a set that has him working with very groovy backings from the Sharps & Flats ensemble – who almost give the whole thing an MPS label blending of funky jazz and world music sounds! The approach is wonderful – a bit more upbeat and swinging than some of Yamamoto's other records, as Nobuo Hara leads the larger group with a totally cool sound – which makes the flute lines a sweet exotic touch over straightforward, soul-drenched, big band jazz! We might even link the sound to some of Dorothy Ashby's grooviest albums for Chess/Cadet – although with flute, instead of harp.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. A sweet 70s set from the ultra-hip rhythm duo of bassist John Lee and drummer Gerry Brown – working here in a European setting with loads of great reed work to support the "bamboo" vibe of the title! Flute player Chris Hinze blows both bamboo and regular flute – and the feel of the set is like some of his excellent fusion dates from the same time – but the record also has lots of great work from Gary Bartz on alto and soprano sax, plus some keyboards from Hubert Eaves and Jasper Van'T Hof – two very different players who balance out the mood nicely. Some tracks are full-on fusion, but they're offset by mellower, more introspective passages – of the sort that really let the reed players come out strongly – and titles include "Jua", "Rise On", "Who Can See The Shadow Of The Moon", "Infinite Jones", and "Deliverance".