Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Music Review - Shaman's Vision Journey

If you have a high-end system, you listen to a lot of music. Most of the software in my collection consists of superbly recorded vinyl and high-quality DSD/24-192/24-96 digital sources. But every now and then, a Red Book format disc (16-44) grabs my attention. While still not among the ranks of a good-quality digital, Red Book CDs can be arranged, recorded, and produced in an amazing manner and this review describes one of them.

I've just rolled into my crossover network some Teflon super-tweeter capacitors and rewired all of the point-to-point connections with Teflon-insulated silver-stranded wire (20AWG,7 strands). Needless to say that after performing this upgrade, I appreciated quite a few sonic benefits, mostly above 2KHz. It also helped reveal more of the nuances buried within a recording like background noises that were once distant being brought more forward.

So with the system tweaked, it's a cloudy Saturday morning, I'm sitting with my feet up, coffee cup on the end table, and I am listening David and Steve Gordon's album entitled "Shaman's Vision Journey." This is a four-song meditation-style CD whose sonic virtues fall in that exclusive category of well-arranged and produced Red Book recordings.

This is a relaxing production featuring bird chirps, flutes, guitars, chanting vocals, Native American drums, and both contemporary and ancient percussion. Most alluring is the cadence seamlessly complimented by the perfect blend of all sounds. None are too loud nor too soft meaning that this timeless music sweeps you away as if cradled by the magic of the performers and the synergistic talent of the recording engineer. It's pretty cool; I think you'll like it!

Each of the four tracks honors one of the four cardinal directions (therein referenced as the four winds) - east, south, west, and north. Each track was inspired by the chants of an ancient culture. The clever cover adds another dimension to this album acknowledging these four ancient cultures from which these four tracks were created. Four crystal "singing" bowls adorn the edges with engraved symbols borrowed from the same cultures whose chants inspired that track. The symbols, left-to-right and top-to-bottom, are:

  • Sanskrit OM
  • Hopi Four Directions
  • Tibetan Double Dorje
  • Buddhist Knot of Eternity
I spent a lot of time in the American Southwest and hiked many of the canyons near Moab, Utah. Randomly adorning the sandstone cliffs I have personally observed white hand prints similar to those shown on this drum face where the spiral on the palm reportedly signifies the spiritual power of the Shaman. I could go into more about the cover design and its integration of sound waves and symbols but I presume you are more interested in the music itself. Suffice it to say that the cover design is well thought out and contains more to it than meets the casual eye.

The attention to detail in the music is similar to that of the cover art. Each song contains a core drumbeat whose rhythm maintains the emotion and foundation of that piece. Enhanced by other instruments, each song takes on a slightly different character although if you did not pay attention you may think that they were all the same song. Such is the indistinguishable nature of well-orchestrated deep meditation music. Not only does the performance lull you into calmness and peace, it also drains away your stress and helps you experience personal insights you may not have previously known.

If I were you, I would follow the directions on the album notes and quietly meditate while listening to this music on your own high-end rig. You nay find yourself fascinated by the accuracy of the instruments or intrigued by the unsuspected appearance of a harmonious instrument, but stay focused on your meditation and let all external influences dissolve. Let your meditation take you deep into your higher consciousness and beyond with the help of these chants. It works as my wife and I can both confirm.

I never thought the integration of playback system and well-recorded sound could make such a difference as to the quality of my meditation. I hope that you find a new use for your rig as I did mine.

I once prayed for the Creator to allow me to hear "perfect sound." I was blessed in a meditation with a single note whose purity drives me to achieve a similar experience with my playback system. While I am much closer today than that day over 20 years ago, I still vividly recall the pureness of that one note not heard with my ears but rather with my inner spirit. Music of this caliber as the Shaman's Vision Journey re-inspires me to continue my journey into revealing that quality of an experience. I hope that this music similarly inspires you to continue on your own journey into audio perfection.

Steve Gordon's Comments
We receive many reviews after releasing an album, but it was particularly gratifying to read Philip’s review.  Since Philip is an expert in audiophile sound, we were very pleased to see that he enjoyed the album and considered the sound quality to be very good for a red book format disc.
When we engineer and master an album like this, we take a long time to get everything to sound the best it can.  In addition to our commitment to composing and recording exceptional music, we are equally committed to excellence in sound.  It’s great to get recognition for this from someone who knows sound.

Yours for higher fidelity,

Philip Rastocny

I do not use ads in this blog to help support my efforts. If you like what you are reading, please remember to reciprocate by purchasing one of my eBooks or through a PayPal donation, My newest title is called Where, oh Where did the Star of Bethlehem Go? It’s an astronomer’s look at what this celestial object may have been, who the "Wise Men" were, and where they came from. Written in an investigative journalism style (like that of the Discovery Channel), it targets one star that has never been considered before and builds a solid case for its candidacy.


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