Buddha Nature
(New Earth, 2001)

Let's face it, new age is one of the most troubled and misunderstood genres of music, mostly for the reason that there is a fine line between well-written, well-performed, well-recorded, carefully crafted, often contemplative instrumental music, and the mindless background music that so often bears the "new age" tag. Unfortunately, there are record companies, consumers and even some musicians who can't seem to tell the difference.

C.G. Deuter is unquestionably a master of quality new-age music. For the past 25 years or so, Deuter's quest to study the spiritual, musical and cultural traditions of diverse peoples around the world has inspired him to create some of the most satisfying recordings to ever land in the new age racks.

Deuter is a self-described pioneer in the realm of healing and meditation music, and although this latest recording, Buddha Nature, is labeled right on the disc box as "music for meditation and relaxation," you certainly don't have to be a Buddhist; you don't even have to meditate to thoroughly enjoy this disc. The layered synthesizers provide a very accessible sound through which are woven guitars, flutes and other friendly sounding world-music instruments. The title track is a perfect example of this, offering a mellow yet very futuristic sound; imagine relaxing aboard a starship with this music as the soundtrack. The piece ends with the soothing sounds of water lapping at the shore, with bird sounds in the background.

"Illumination," clocking in at 27:40, has a more ethereal synthesizer backdrop, with mystical sounding flutes floating in and out. When it ends, it's hard to imagine that nearly 30 minutes have passed.

There may be no one better suited to create this kind of all-encompassing mood music than Deuter. The music here is more down to earth than the typical space-music soundscape; it's more of a sonic marriage of technology and nature with an equal measure of world music sensibility. "Amida" has mystical sounding solo flute, "Joyful Path" is a bit more spacey sounding, and "Blessing" is the most lyrical of the five tracks, in its melodic musical phrases.

This disc is all about relaxation, and relaxing it certainly is; so relaxing in fact, that the package might well carry a warning label not to listen while driving or operating heavy machinery. The title Buddha Nature is explained by Deuter in the liner notes, as "the quality of being present in this very moment -- that is Buddha nature. Not having one's mind travel into the past or future, but relaxing into what is, non-doing and learning to enjoy one's being." The music on this disc is just perfect for facilitating such a state of mind.

[ by William Kates ]
Rambles: 14 September 2002

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