- Bryon Harris
Bongo Boy Records - 'Escape The Mind Volume One'
Bongo Boy Records 'Escape The Mind Volume One' features New Age music by various talented artists. The compilation provides a mindful space for reflection and relaxation, a calming tool for the mind and soul, or a musical path for a spiritual journey. 13 tracks featuring electronic forms, flutes, piano, synthesizer, acoustic guitar and a wide variety of world instruments and percussion, as well as some vocals, make for a peaceful, blissful and artistic presentation of music.
The compilation opens with ‘Healing Temple’ by Robert Slap. This song commences with a drone at the foundation, a sprinkling of chimes and melodic motifs played in the upper register. About half a minute in, a tenor ranged chant commences, then enters a gorgeous flute (with a wooden sound). Eventually world percussion is added for a healing vibe that is both ancient and exotic. Robert Slap is also featured on Track 7 with the up-tempo, synthesized song “Sahara” a rhythmical piece of mesmerizing patterns, percussion and soft solos that swell into a full wall of sound before returning the simple mosaic beginning.
The second song on the track is “Traces” which features the everlasting vocals of Deborah Henriksson. “Traces” flows nicely in 6/8 time, starting with a drum pulse which is built upon with arpeggios. When Deborah sings, listeners are taken away and the minor key of the song makes for a very moving melody. The lyrics captures longing and destiny. “Someday, Somehow, Somewhere there’s a way near. Sometime. Someday.” Deborah is also featured on Track 6 with the song “Soulscape.’ Soulscape has a nice percussive world vibe with syncopated bass and strings. You can hear elements of jazz and world. Deborah’s voice is very fluid in “Soulscape” as she showcases her range and pure tone. "Soulscape" has a beautiful guitar solo (Spanish guitar), giving it a soft and mellow world flavor.
Up next is “Sanctuary for the Soul” by Janice Lacy Project. The composition form is a duo between piano and cello, The piece opens with a lovely, fluid piano introduction that rolls off the keys like soothing water. Soon the piano is joined by a cello in mid-range. “Sanctuary for the Soul” presents gorgeous thematic material with melodies and harmonies that aren’t always predictable. For listeners looking for a mindful musical space, “Sanctuary for the Soul” provides a sanctuary filled with musical substance for the discerning ear while remaining relaxing to the soul. The Janice Lacy Project returns at the end of the Compilation CD on track 11 with "Full Moon." “Full Moon” has a very nice groove with light jazzy percussion. The melodic content is played on the piano and filled in by smooth electronic voicing. Both "Sanctuary for the Soul" and "Full Moon" are well-developed and easy to listen to.
Track four is ‘Wings of Grace’ by Tom Baker. The song invites you in with single notes repeated on the downbeat in six eighth time. Over these simple single notes, a scale-wise melody is added and a third voice enters on synthesized keys. The feeling is that of an awakening. You can slowly inhale to this song as the music unfolds and comes to life. Octaves, embellishments and melodic motifs are added until a full orchestrated harmonic sound fills the air. Musically, cascading notes create a fluttering sound, like wings in flight. The span of thematic material returns twice giving listeners several moments to unwind and rewind without lifting a finger which is a brilliant touch considering that most listeners will want to repeat the track while remaining in a calm state of mind.
Track 5, “Bloom,” by Matthew Mayer is a heartfelt moving piano piece. The composition is made up of a simple arpeggio pattern. Notes are played in slow, flowing eighths on beats 1, 2 and 3 while the eighth note on the second half of beat 3 rings over beat 4 creating a very peaceful and harmonic sustain. Then, over this lovely pattern, in the upper register, a simple and beautiful melody commences on the piano. The melody develops in it’s own time, blooming slowly and mindfully. The effect is very tranquil and lovely. Matthew Mayer knows how to use silence, space and time to create a lasting effect.
Charles Brown is on Track 8 with “Maroon Highlands.” Chord progressions in arpeggios, soft mellow percussion and vocal harmonies open the song. This song feels close to nature. After the intro, a vibrant strumming section commences as if the sun is out and shining through. Throughout the song, there are wooden percussive sounds and electronic motifs swapping melodies; horn and strings take featured melodic solos. The song is jubilant.
Lynn Yew Evers “Finding You” is my favorite track on the album. “Finding You” is a gorgeous song with classical elements that leaves you with chills. The melodies are heart-warming and played with artistic refinement and musicality. Each phrase is delivered with arch, breath and dynamics. "Finding You" features a tasteful horn solo and a soft vocal track that blend perfectly with the solo piano playing. “Finding You” will leave you breathless.
Rob Mullins follows with “No Secrets.” “No Secrets” is a piano work that starts with single chords echoed by flourishes in the upper register. A simple horn enters with a long held line and then the memorable melody of “No Secrets” begins. “No Secrets” has elements of popular adult-contemporary music with memorable melodies and harmonies. It is played beautifully with very nice ornamentation on the melody lines. The song builds well adding supporting layers for a full bodied sound that is rich and moving.
STEEL has one of the most unique tracks on the compilation with “Yangon ft. DJ K-LA.” A whisper is heard, “Yangon.” Then, a female voice echoes saying the word again, "Yangon." Popping world percussion, deep bass lines and electronic motifs that run parallel and in harmony make for a smooth track that takes you away to another place. The name “Yangon” is sung throughout in different registers and timbres. Mid-way through the song becomes more energetic, the vocals singing “La's." The track depicts the city flavors with a lot of soul and world instrumentation.
The last track on the compilation is “New Horizons” by Pamela Davis. The vibe to "New Horizons" is inspirational and uplifting. You will feel like smiling from the first note to the last. Melodic lines with rhythmic accents play against an electronic motif pattern-filled backdrop. Soon a bass enters playing a happy tune that plays until the end of the song. Pamela’s song is upbeat, refreshing and motivational.
For more information on 'Escape the Mind, Volume One, please visit Bongo Boy Records.
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