One needn't heed the New Agey goddess worship cited in the liner to enjoy this disc of slowly unfolding, very mellow, spacey progressions of spiritually oriented musics, no, not at all. Aluna is a set of seven very long undulating compositions that sort of turn Klaus Schulze on his head, casting out the darkness, the Berlin pulse, and other standard rhythmatics for poetic star-strewn canvases of elegant beauty and strains of the baroque moderne. Interestingly, in Ocean of Heart, bedded in a careful background of very slow tempo, a flitting Mario Schoenwalder kind of lead line manifests and heads for the skies until transforming into a secondary melodic device which then fades, allowing the understructure to re-assert itself briefly before following Ali Calderwood's stately measured piano in drawing things to a close.
Monk chanting appears in several places, vaguely Native, echoing Philip Glass' Koyaanisqatsi blended with a visit by Tenzin Gyatso, David Hykes looking on. The title track commences just so before a Spring atmosphere arises with Daniela Broder melismatic and floating in Earth-angel wisps. The tableux expands and swirls around the listener, Vangelis meeting Michael Stearns half way, Broder's faintly Gilli Smith-ish voice tracing Gong's stellar wont into the equation. A long time ago, Steve Verity issued a CD similar to this, Digital Planet, then and now practically unknown but quite impressive, unusual in its atmospherics, enfolding, absorbing, illuminating, stimulating; Aluna takes that disc a step further and sideways.
No cut is less than 8:22, one as long as 12:47, so there's plenty of time for composer Calderwood to sketch out entire milieus in each track as the listener falls into Magellanic eiderdown drifting through inky blue billows. The method, though, is more akin to Peter Baumann circa his sterling Transharmonic Nights mixed with the Moody Blues at their most laid back…minus drums, bass, and all that. The convolutions of Ancient Future pull the listener deeper into the ambience until it suddenly erupts and reaches for Procyon, vaporous Gothic halls echoing in wormholes. I kept nervously awaiting a breakdown into kitschcy New Age clichés, but no, this guy knows very well what he's doing, and the result is entrancing, highly artistic, and possessed of a pre-Raphaelite order of beauty. You won't just fall asleep to it, you'll dream in muted misty colors you've never seen before…except in other lifetimes far from Earth.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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