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The Shamanistic Ambience of Byron Metcalf, Rob Thomas, and Mark Seelig

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BYRON METCALF & ROB THOMAS Medicine Work (CD on Dr Bam's Records)

This CD from 2013 features 71 minutes of healing shaministic ambience.

A plethora of soft percussives conspire with gentle textures to produce a dose of holistic tuneage.

While the percussives are diverse, the beats remain subdued but hardly passive. These smooth rhythms incite a mood of mild attentiveness, a kinship with things that dwell at the edge of perception. Softly pattered drums mix with shakers to achieve a trance-like character. The rhythms remain gentle, cycling tempos until a mesmerizing state is reached.

The electronics are similarly elusive. Feathery drones simmer just beyond one's peripheral hearing, establishing an aura of psychic calm.

The liberal use of didgeridoo provides a tribal edge to everything, reducing the modern tuneage to a realm of instinctual motivation. The breathy tonalities vibrate on a level that churns with subliminal puissance.

These compositions are crafted to stimulate the subconscious, lulling the consciousness while spreading healing properties throughout the listener's organic substance. But if you actually resist this sedation and pay close attention, the harmonic streams can be equally exciting on a conscious level.

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BYRON METCALF & MARK SEELIG Intention (DDL on Projekt)

This release from 2014 features 70 minutes of mesmerizing ambience.

Metcalf plays frame drums, ceremonial drums, hybrid drums, udu and rattles. Seelig plays Bansuri flutes and overtone vocals. They are joined on some tracks by: Rob Thomas and Dashmesh Khalsa (on didgeridoo), Daniel Hirty (on tabla), and Max Link (on water pot udu).

A diversity of ritual percussion blends with ethereal flute and throat singing to create tuneage of a dreamy nature.

The percussives generate gentle rhythms, not bombastic tempos. These beats establish a realm of haunting temperament, antediluvian yet not primitive. The beats are generally relegated to the distance, as if carried to the listener on spiritual breezes across sacred territory.

The flute contributes a dreamlike flavor, crafting auralscapes that are steeped in mythical definition. The instrument lends a pleasant melodic touch to the gentle cadence established by the ongoing rhythms.

The overtone vocals are deep voiced and intensely ephemeral. There is no lyrical content; they generate a moody flow that comprises a droney quality, not a presence of chants.

The didgeridoos enhance the music's spectral character with their breathy drones. These threads drift and warble like the voice of an arid wind, conjuring ceremonial vistas that exist under a pensive nocturnal sky.

While these compositions are crafted in a shamanistic model, they are somewhat devoid of a ritualistic character. Instead, they flow with a dreamlike quality, manifesting soundscapes of rich emotional content. Their density is airy, cerebral, thoroughly evocative. The tracks are all long, affording the flows ample opportunity to captivate the listener with their mesmerizing personality.

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