The Ancient-Future.com label is an intelligent and lush World Music / New Age imprint doing its damnedest to lift the too often moribund and vapid twin genres into the level they need to occupy, a stratum sparked long ago by the chamber jazz group Oregon and since subjected to a fitful history. This collaborative group—named after the label or vice versa, I'm not sure—appears to be a revolving group of the label's artists headed by Matthew Montfort. The CD commences with Simsimay Panima featuring Monose Singh's bansuri flute skylarking in a perfect confluence of Carnatic, Celtic, and other modes. That cut flows into Forest Frolic, an unexpectedly bouncy tune beautifully paced by Hadley Loudon's marimbas and Emam's tabla, wherein Puck can be heard gamboling over glade, field, and copse. Montfort adds an uncharacteristic guitar line recalling Jade Warrior's Tony Duhig, brimming with deeply considered timbres, before heading into a long "solo" (I Mett Her in the Medowe) actually a two-part synched song taken from a old Scottish lute melody.
Planet Passion is a part of a triumvirate of releases (includes Matthew Montfort, here, and Mariah Parker, here) celebrating the label's three decades of World musics (they tend to avoid the New Age tag, as well they should) and serves as a great companion to those CDs. Should you harbor any doubts, start with Montfort's lead runs in Ocean of Love athwart chanted vocals and be quickly resolved in the matter. Very impressive. The label and group is retrofitting ancient styles and modes to a modernization that doesn't insult or sterilize any of it, finding well-studied players representing tradition who also wish to bring elements into a new context without perverting them…which is quite do-able. After all, Caroline & L. Shankar, to quote one instance, do no harm to trad Carnatic musics by their witty and considered infusions. Thus, here, you have the best of both worlds as well, fusing into Western modes with respect and elan, skill and aplomb, not empty minds and careless trends.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles