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World Music CD Reviews New Age & Avant Garde

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By Marie Elsie St. Léger
Published March 3, 2006

ZEN AND THE ART OF CHILLING: VOLUME ONE
Mondo Rhythmica/Ark

From the opening prayer chants on Ferdoos's "Ramadan" to the closing strains of Oojami's "Neyzen," very little interfered with this listener’s aim for this CD: zoning to a hypnotic beat. Compiler/producer/DJ Phil Meadley delves into the spiritual side of relaxation, avoiding the ennui of pseudo-chic Euro-techtronic ambient without rejecting it outright. The only interruption to the chillout flow comes early: Certainly no joy can be found in emotional or physical brutality, no matter how beautifully Amina sings "My Man." But back to serious lying back: Oud master Simon Shaheen spins magic on his previously unreleased "Saraab"; Bob Holyrod's international club sensation "Adrift In Kerala" flows nicely, as does Transglobal Underground's subtle swirl of "Air Giant"; Alex Kid poetically contemplates the unknown (via Ursula Rucker's spoken words) on "Fear in Flight."