East of the Full Moon
(New Earth, 2005)

New-age giant Deuter's latest CD, East of the Full Moon, delivers exactly what it promises: about an hour's worth of quietly lovely, meditative music, perfect as a soundtrack for solitary reveries and moonlit contemplations. Fans of Deuter's many earlier CDs will not be disappointed in the proof of his continued ability to evoke a musical atmosphere with a minimum of fuss and artifice.

Relying primarily on skillfully played keyboard and a variety of flutes, multi-instrumentalist Deuter creates spare, organic melodies augmented by the (generally) tasteful and limited use of synthesizers. Occasional light percussion, like the tabla on "Vibrant Dusk," helps to vary the sedentary tone of East of the Full Moon a bit -- though never to the point where it becomes disruptive to the quiet, nocturnal, vaguely Asian feel of the CD. Nothing on the disc could really be described as disruptive. The nine tracks, five of which are over eight minutes long, segue smoothly into each other, sketching through music the serene progression of nightfall into daybreak. The comparatively upbeat track, "Dawn Shimmer," ends the CD on a brighter note.

All of it is quite pretty, though no single track or melody stands out even after repeated listens. Much like earlier Deuter CDs, though possessing its own unique sound, East of the Full Moon is a softspoken, understated work best suited to accompany activities like yoga, meditating -- or falling asleep. Therein lies the problem, if it can be considered one: the CD remains firmly background music, pleasant, undemanding and somewhat difficult to pay full, continuous attention to. Attributing spiritual healing capabilities to the CD may be pushing things a bit too far. To be fair, it would have been all too easy for a less skilled artist than Deuter to make such a project into an overwrought, pretentious affair replete with synthesized cheesiness. East of the Full Moon happily avoids such a fate.

Though it eschews the excesses of a genre often criticized for its saccharine self indulgence, East of the Full Moon is neither revolutionary as new age music nor likely to hold much cross-genre interest for those who dismiss the genre as musically invalid and hokey. It is firmly new age music -- good new age music -- that would make a welcome addition to any Deuter or new age music collection.

by Jennifer Mo
1 April 2006

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