Panorama explores European and Asian influences over a modern base of chill-out/electronica, jazz and ambient flavours. Samples of Nepalese folk tunes sherpas and have been fused with Eastern European instrumentation, Irish bouzouki and baglama, spiced with modern jazz, orchestral strings, trip hop beats and a touch of lounge.
One World Music is a new Australian label “dedicated to supporting and developing home-grown global chill-out”. Think of the craze for chilled world music typified by the Buddha Bar series and you’ve got the idea – although One World claim to have the same quality without the hideous expense. Their first release was a double album called Zen Connection, and this pilot has now been followed by the two new releases reviewed here. Beautifully packaged, presented and promoted, One World are clearly still aiming at the premium end of the market.
Amanaska are Simon Lewis and Stephen Joyce, a couple of Melbourne musicians who have independently produced music combining elements of music from across the globe. Here they collaborated as Amanaska (Sanskrit for a perfect balance of strength, restfulness and alertness) to produce an album which is indeed a fine balance of diverse influences, cultures and sounds. Singing sherpas, folk instruments from Ireland and Eastern Europe and sophisticated urban electronica combine sublimely, unlike so many albums where the different cultures clash, rather than compliment each other. Something that appeals to the dance-music lover in me, and so probably will to many on ITM, is that most of the tracks have real groove and swing, as well as emotional depth and interest – you can dance to some, while others are pure listening pleasure.
The sounds are amazingly diverse – Distant Worlds starts with didgeridoo and wanders off with muezzin-like cries, dirges, whispered vocals, and some powerful drum programming, and ranges in tone from wistful lament to dance-floor stomper, and back. Easeback is the track of the album for me, an 8-minute excursion into jazzier territory, with an absolutely sublime muted trumpet and flugelhorn from Peter Knight. The brass chases the keyboards in a joyful spiral, followed at leisure by mellow bass and cool percussion – just beautiful. The album is a magpie collection of shiny musical gems from around the world, collected with care and put together with real skill and flair by a couple of musicians from whom I think we’ll be hearing a lot more.
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|Dimensions||20 × 1 × 20 cm|