Monday, 12 January 2015

Liquid Bloom 'Heart of the Shamans: Ceremonial Medicine Songs' Review

Liquid Bloom

Heart of the Shamans: 
Ceremonial Medicine Songs

Label: White Swan Records

Released: 27th Jan 2015

Liquid bloom is a side project of Amani Friend (of the Desert Dwellers) with a focus on trance music, trance music that is in the traditional sense rather than the dance genre of the modern day. Drawing inspiration from indigenous ceremonial dances of New Mexico’s deserts and pueblos, and sacred traditional ayahuasca invocations from Amazonian rainforest cultures.

The album’s liner notes offer guidance for participatory, immersive listening. A succession of mudras – traditional hand gestures from India believed to provide physical points of reference and increase energy flow throughout the body – are also suggested to enhance the participant’s experience, each specific to one of the album’s six major compositions.

The release begins in a dark and moody manner with 'Ceremony of the Heart' balanced with flutes, ethereal vocals, chants and field recordings of nature and the piece gradually becomes more soothing the further you progress. In contrast 'Cosmic Soul Lotus' focuses more on the vocal aspect which I can only compare to a wonderful mish-mash of Jose Padilla and Azam Ali.

Once again 'Healing Fire Breath' contains ethereal and alluring vocals but comes across more as a song than a ceremonial chant layered over slow tribal rhythms, didge and flutes. The spoken words on 'Temple of the Goddess' are once again reminiscent to Jose Padilla's 'Navigator' album layered over ethereal vocals, chimes and field recordings of nature.

The spoken word of 'Ecstatic Grounding' switches to male vocal as an introduction to the feminine main body of the piece while the back ground music combines the sounds of India and Arabic percussion. While 'Sacred Blessing' is more soothing, the percussion is dropped for chimes and field recordings of nature and the feminine and masculine vocals overlap. While the 'Relaxation Tape' like spoken words are vaguely reminiscent.

As an added bonus there's also two tracks re-mixed by Medicina 'Jaguar Dreaming' and 'Roots of the Earth' which although are more dance orientated they're far from hectic more akin to Lumin's 'Ketri' album.

On my first listen I guess I wasn't in the right mood but re-visting a few weeks later the experience was completely different. Having previously heard Ixchel Prrisma vocals for a Desert Dwellers e.p. only one of the tracks grabbed me. But alongside Sarah West, Robert Mirabel and Rara Avis these collective vocals come to the forefront and really shine on this release.

Review by Woodzee.