For this album, people perform music that celebrate the acoustics in architecture. As found in the official website I linked above, every song in this album took place in a museum and church.
Paul Horn’s Vibrations features an anonymous security guard singing to celebrate the acoustics found in a museum. I find this man’s untrained vocals quite endearing and soothing. Also reminds me of the Buddhist meditation singing bowls. Horn’s other song, Akasha has this sound that resembles something coming out of big bendy novelty straws at the beginning. However, this changes to a beautiful flute sound with a synthesizer backing Horn up. Karineh Avetissian’s Bats Mez Ter consists of this gorgeous and ethereal aria by a female singer. Barbara Thompson’s Al Ya Zane consists of this beautiful saxophone solo. Thompson captures this sense of sadness in this song. I love how this song just washes over me and wraps me in its delicate loveliness. Roland Peelman and the Song Company’s cover of Dufay’s Nuper Rosarum Flores consists of a choir. Simply divine and sweet.
John Taylor, Ian Carr, and other not mentioned perform Sounds and Sweet Airs has this quiet Jazz quality in its execution. Although the organ that plays in the middle feels as though it comes out of nowhere. R. Carlos Nakai’s Voices combines musical chants and flutes. Another lovely and delicate song that uplifts the spirit. Another contribution by Roland Peelman, Schütz’s Aleph Und Beta gives us this gorgeous Byzantine style chanting. The harmonies created by the men and women mesh so beautifully. Also the energy from their singing feels so engaging. While listening to Hasan Semerkantli’s version of Efendi’s Nat-I Sherif, it gave me this wonderful sense of contemplation. With the sounds of crickets acting as background rhythm for the flute playing, Ise by James Newton creates a serene night-time environment. I feel as though I should not listen to this during the day. Newton also creates notes with the flute that feels it pierces the night sky with its strange sounds. Not to mention the lovely swirling feel in other parts. Paul Horn’s Temple of Heaven features more flute playing. However, this performance creates a playful and whimsical environment. La Thi Cam Van and the Hue Traditional Art Troupe’s version of Dang Dan Cun, Dang Dan Don brings us out of the flutes and into some percussion centric music. A Vietnamese song, I enjoyed the harsh tone the musicians created. Furthermore, the drum playing has this wonderful infectious beat. The Pinpeat Ensemble’s remake of Trad Toch continues the traditional Asian songs theme (Cambodian). A very fun song, I love the way the instruments create this duality of soothing and playful sounds versus the harsh sounds. It does remind me of the hurdy gurdy and bagpipe playing found in Celtic music.
Paul Horn’s last contribution to this album goes by the title Meditation: Psalm 6. We go back to the flute sounds with this nice quiet song. Besides the Asian bands, a lot of the songs in this album consist mostly of vocals, choirs, and solo instruments performing. Full bands apparently do not celebrate the atmosphere the walls of museums and cathedrals create. Not as sacred and intimate, I guess. Sedat Altinoz’s Kamanche Taksim confirms this. With only one instrument performing, it creates this quiet, yet sacred atmosphere. The last contribution by James Newton has the title, Of The Most High. Again, the song consists of a flute performance. However, Newton manipulates the flute sound at times so it resembles Buddhist singing bowl. At other times, the flute brings to mind birds flying. As the album concludes, what song do they give us? Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach and performed by Franz Lehrndorfer. The longest song in the album (just over ten minutes), this version gives the album a glorious end. It maintains the theme of minimalist instruments and pays tribute to why we need acoustics in walls.
I absolutely love this album, the songs here provides a sense of relaxation. I can practically imagine the sounds of the music featured reverberating throughout the walls of the museums each person performed in.
ETA: Changed some words.
ETA 3-14-2015: Removed some updates and added a link.