The Serpent's Lair
by Bryan Reesman, amazon.com
Ambient explorer Roach and percussionist Metcalf originally began this as an experiment into the effects of breathwork and the use of sound on a person "as a shamanic strategy for healing, personal growth, and transformation." The successful effects their music had in group settings were extended into these compositions. While billed as a collaboration between the two men, THE SERPENT'S LAIR also features contributions by (deep breath) violinist Vicki Richards, overtone vocalist Jim Cole, pre-Hispanic sound sorcerer Jorge Reyes, singer Lena Stevens, synthesist Vidna Obmana, "groove alchemist" Vir Unis, and djembe players Jeffrey Fayman and Momodu "Mohammad" Kah. The two discs in this package act as yin and yang – the eight parts of the first disc, "The Serpent's Lair," highlight intoxicatingly hypnotic drum rhythms slicing through churning ambient spaces, while the seven cuts that make up the second disc, "Offerings from the Underworld," travel down darker, spacier streams with subtle rhythms, reverberant vocals, and exotic aerophones caressing and riding the ethereal aural waves. This invigorating combination of musicians invents a dynamic new perspective on Roach's trademark deep-listening forays. It would be wonderful to hear more collaborations like this.