by Roger Batty, Musique Machine
NADA TERMA is a rich, exotic and mysterious eastern tinged ambient ride that brings together ethic percussionist Byron Metcalf, Bansuri flutist and Dilruba player Mark Seelig and ambient explorer Steve Roach.
The album is split into 7 tracks, but like the best ambient this works best as one long and continuous flowing 70-plus minute trip into heady and hypnotic sonic desert of sound. The first few tracks are dreamy, lush and mysterious yet build with heady eastern-tinged synth expanses mixing in with the Dilruba's hovers and drones and the Bansuri Flutes haunting ancient and heady voice. The sound slips out of your speakers like heady incense smoke that soothes and loosens one's body and mind. By the third track, the trio's harmonic overtone vocals (which are akin to mysterious eastern throat singing) are added to the mix, and by this point you really feel like you're drifting over a vast and ancient deserts towards a golden and mysterious light source. Then the eastern percussive elements enter on track four; slowly and tentative at first, but slowly and surely they build up their depth and mix of clarity, but they never detract from the atmosphere built up before. Instead, they heighten the eastern and mysterious air. As we move into track five, the focus becomes the hypnotic and interlocking eastern percussive tones underlined by the emission of eastern drone matter and almost electrified Dilruba detail and harmonic shimmer. By track six, the Bansuri flutes arch out a graceful and haunted notation once more, and by track seven things start to slow in percussive depth and presence as the eastern ambience drifts in once more.
An interesting and rewarding pairing of these three highly talented mood makers, which stays true to creating a mysterious and heady eastern atmosphere with neither of the three's egos ever getting in the way across the album's 70-minute sonic journey.