Moolamantra: Sat Chit Ananda
First Appeared in The Music Box, May 2008, Volume 15, #5
Written by Douglas Heselgrave
Wed May 14, 2008, 06:30 AM CDT
Over the last decade or so, a whole sub-genre of world music has emerged that features electronically treated recordings of material, which long has been considered sacred. Throughout the 1990s, the British rave scene that had developed during the latter part of the previous decade spread well beyond its borders when young electronica fans embraced a gypsy lifestyle and began to travel around the globe. Dances in exotic locales became more and more common as thousands of people gathered at "power spots" ranging from Native North American reservations to ancient Himalayan temple sites. While many of the revelers embarked on their journeys as much for the drugs and sex as they did for the exposure to traditional cultures and far-flung destinations, a certain amount of what they saw must have insinuated itself into their subconscious. At least that is what seems to have happened, given the recent deluge of electronica albums that have been inspired by ancient spiritual traditions.
Not surprisingly, most of the recordings of new age electronica are terrible. They are so marred by overbearing synthesizers and off-key misreadings of sacred texts that it becomes tempting just to ignore the whole genre and stick to more traditional world music recordings. Still, the idea of tastefully mixing Western electronic beats with ancient chants and musical forms is a fascinating one. Yet, only a few artists — most notably the experimental guitarist Steve Tibbetts whose Cho and Selwa albums feature the Tibetan nun Ani Drolma — have been able to create exquisite, cross-cultural music for relaxation and meditation.
Moolamantra: Sat Chit Ananda falls right into this category. It essentially contains four readings of Buddhist root mantras, and it succeeds brilliantly as a recording that can be enjoyed as background music or listened to actively with no other distractions. The first two cuts (Moolamantra One and Moolamantra Two) employ vocals with minimal electronic touches to create a relaxing atmosphere. The singing is rich, deep, and hypnotic, and the electronic augmentation improves rather than detracts from each track. The third and fourth tunes (Mantra Remix and Blakkat Soundscapes) are extended electronic remixes that are both respectful and musically challenging.
Granted, meditation albums aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t help matters, either, that prospective fans have to wade through dozens of horrible releases to find one that is worth hearing. For those who enjoy the wealth of sacred music created by ancient cultures, however, the act of finding an album like Moolamantra: Sat Chit Ananda can seem like a godsend. ˝
Of Further Interest...
Moolamantra: Sat Chit Ananda is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box