This album provides a superb musical ambience for relaxing, contemplation, and healing modalities. Bowles evokes a dreamy space-age musical setting with gentle pulsing melodies and harmonies that float like clouds through the mind. The theme is end-of-day decompression of body, mind and soul.
There are seven tracks on the CD. Track 1: Hymnus is a soft synth piece that performs the neat trick of levitation. Track 2: Migration at Dusk offers synth-choral vocals soaring over a tender string ensemble, with organ and flute sounds gradually fading in and out through the texture. Track 3: The Ridgewalker evokes the sense of walking through wispy clouds on a mountain top. The listener hovers over the earth while viewing distant vistas from a great elevation.
I especially enjoy Track 4: Chalice of Shadows. Tibetan bells vibrate through a misty wash of pulsing synth chords. The harmonies glide effortlessly through the various sound textures. It's a delicately languid composition, no rush, no hurries. Bowles is a master at pacing her musical ideas through a gradual development that allows the sounds to extend and linger in space and time.
Track 5: Berceuse for a Star Child brings the listener to a musical plateau of relaxed expectation as a preface to Track 6: Evensong (title track). The spare textures paradoxically create a sense of epic grandeur and wide-open spaces. The material unfolds over a generous 10:51 minutes. The final Track 7: Time and Light is a lengthy 15-minute piece. The pulsing fourth-tonic riff underlying the other sounds is like a communications signal one follows back home after visiting the outer reaches of space and time.
I listen to Bowles' early album "The Shimmering Land" quite often, it's a great favorite. This album demonstrations an evolution of her compositional ideas through her thematic conduit. She allows her melodic motifs and harmonies room to develop, merge, and expand. The music isn't overloaded with voices but still gives a sense of enormous depth and space. It's not so much what Bowles puts in but what she tastefully leaves out of the mix that gives the songs their profound effects. This light-handed touch is what makes this music unique in the New Age/neo-classic genre. It shares the delicately lacy textures of Ravel's compositions with the oceanic quality of Debussy, so I suppose it should more properly be categorized as neo-impressionism. Yet Bowles' compositions have a uniquely feminine elegance. It's fantastic music for becoming utterly boneless and calm. Highly recommended for any form of meditation and self-renewal.
~review by Elizabeth Hazel
Artist: Meg Bowles
7 tracks, 63 minutes
CD $16.16, Mp3 $9.49.