by John Shanahan, Hypnagogue
Cut from the same sessions that produced HOLDING THE SPACE: FEVER DREAMS II, this disc could be considered FD's mellower cousin. MANTRAM is a cool, calm, beat-enhanced exploration into creating a sort of sonic mandala -- a sacred image -- through music. It is a perfect CD for meditation. Steve Roach lays down the soundworld skeleton; Byron Metcalf pumps life into it with shamanic drumming; and Mark Seelig makes it breathe and dance with a beautiful selection of flutes. The eight pieces here, identified solely by number, are characterized by a gentle build and a perfectly unhurried feel. The standout track here is "Seven", where Metcalf's frame drum takes command of both the music and the listener. Give in to it. Each strike on the drumhead reverberates to the soul. You will emerge breathless from this track. Do yourself a favor: Press 'repeat' when you load this CD and just let it run. It melds beautifully into continuous play and brings a palpable serenity to the environment. This is bound to become a favorite.