A septet of chamber instrumentals with a strong New Age / modernist classical bent, Ascension is a blend tying long centuries together in a formula that sanctifies tradition while refreshing it. Phoenix Rising is a duo (Wendy Loomis, piano, and Monica Williams, flute) from Oakland whose sound has appealed even to the well-known Ron Dellums, mayor of the city. Almost every cut features a revolving roster of individual guests on tabla, cello, hang drum, guzheng, guitar, vocals and…goat hooves!
The opener, Seed, is a cross between oriental and gaelic sounds, the prime melody deriving from an old song written in China somewhere between 1368 and 1644 A.D. Creation features a marvelously shakahuchi-ish flute solo atop tablas early in its development, with a Moody Blues / Oregon (ca Winter's Light) piano elegantly displacing the wind instrument only to have the two come together in a Towner / McCandless fashion. As things progress, every cut reveals beautiful teamwork in composure and arrangements, the end result being a testament to thought and precision.
Ascension is music for a darkened room with candles or in a recital room, a place where visual input will be minimized and the listener drawn to the cartography of the songs themselves. The recordings are spacious and pristine, allowing all notes their way while using the studio as a warmly quiescent backdrop. Don't come to the disc with the frenzy of the outside world, you'll miss too much.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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