Trance Spirits
by Jeff Towne, New Age Voice
July 2002

The spirits seem restless as the opening track "Taking Flight" propels us into an altered state, twirled by hypnotic drumbeats, whirled by surreal audio textures. Is it a Gnawan ritual from a torch-lit square in Marrakesh? No, this is a more mysterious rite, employing ancient and modern musical devices to traverse layers of consciousness. Jeffrey Fayman provides the ecstatic hand-drum rhythms, assisted by Mamodou Kah. Together they blend African, Arabic and Middle-Eastern sounds in non-traditional ways, evoking the multilayered power of the Burundi Drummers or a circle of djembe players, entranced by their own dizzying spirals.

TRANCE SPIRITS follows the 2000 recording A TEMPLE IN THE CLOUDS, which featured Fayman's synthesizer work overlaying guitar textures recorded previously by Robert Fripp. The King Crimson guitarist contributes some of his signature looping frippertronic Soundscapes, to this recording as well, but they appear here as textures underlying only three tracks. Steve Roach provides most of the ambience, on guitar, synthesizer and various organic sound sources. The flow of interaction between Roach and Fayman, who have worked together on Roach's recordings as well as in live performances, is evident.

Most of the CD is swept away in an enveloping storm of percussion, originating from hands on skins as well as fingers on knobs, but there's an occasional oasis of quiet drift amidst the propulsive grooves. The Fripp-flavored "Off Spring" eases the listener into a dreamy solace, until the insistent electronic pulse of "Seekers" initiates a chase through labyrinthine back-alleys. Fayman's experience creating music for Hollywood "coming-attraction" reels serves this project well, lending a cinematic scale to this CD. It's well suited to accompany tense chase scenes and disorienting dreams, as well as the infinitely more complicated visions of the listener's own trance journeys.

Trance Spirits

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Trance Spirits
Steve Roach, Jeffrey Fayman, Robert Fripp, Momodou Kah
2002 Projekt PRO135 (CD)
Reviewed by Hannah M.G. Shapero, Bret Miller, Earwaves Media, Electroambient Space, e|i magazine, MusicTAP, New Age Voice, Outline Magazine, Sonic Curiosity, Under the Volcano

TRANCE SPIRITS by Steve Roach, Jeffrey Fayman, Robert Fripp and Momodou Kah represents the next step in genuine tribal ambient soundscapes. This amazing gathering of artists makes a magnificent leap into the future of acoustically-fused electronic music.

Five of the seven pieces are driven by a complex juggernaut of authentic African percussion, performed as long-form groove trance pieces by Fayman and Kah. As opposed to just using loops to conjure the desired mood, TRANCE SPIRITS is a real continuum of time, with subtle evolution within the tracks. Entwined with the shamanic / trance-inducing soundworlds created by Roach, and augmented by Fripp on three tracks, the combined effect unleashes the primal forces of nature with a boiling undercurrent of rich, transporting textures.
1. Taking Flight 10:36 
2. Trance SpiritsMP316:44 
3. Off Spring 8:10 
4. Seekers 7:20 
5. The Calling 5:47 
6. Year of the HorseMP313:34 
7. In The Same Deep Water 11:42 

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