Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Jonn Serrie, Gary Stroutsos|
Genres: New Age, Pop
There have been many attempts at fusing Native flutes with synthesizer arrangements, but most of them fail because the synth sounds are pedestrian and stiff, or the flute playing is rudimentary. That's not the case with th... more »
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There have been many attempts at fusing Native flutes with synthesizer arrangements, but most of them fail because the synth sounds are pedestrian and stiff, or the flute playing is rudimentary. That's not the case with these two virtuosos. Gary Stroutsos brings the chops of jazz and Afro-Cuban playing to bear on a performance that nevertheless eschews technique in deference to nuance. Jonn Serrie, on the other hand, since 1987 has been articulating a lush, space-music sound on several albums that are noted for their richly textured sound design. Together, they carve out a contemplative zone of slow-motion space largos, touched by hints of Middle Eastern percussion. Serrie has been here before with his 1998 Native-inspired album, Spirit Keepers, but Stroutsos is a more gifted collaborator. His melodies weave from the curvaceous themes of Indian snake charmers on the title track to the more classically inclined refrain of "Earth Sky." The relentlessly slow pace of Hidden World can wear thin over the course of the album. Even the drama of field drums and cymbals and clay pot percussion barely breaks the surface of the album's doggedly contemplative mode. --John Diliberto
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Gorgeous Synth, irritating flute
K. N. Nelson | California, USA | 06/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jonn Serrie is, in my opinion, THE master of space music and as such he has developed a following who treasure his style of gentle, drifting, textured, fluid sonic artistry. As a music producer, audio engineer and musician myself I can understand and appreciate Jonn's inspired mastery at the mixing board and his brilliance as a truly gifted, and creative musician who commands my deepest respect plus my unrequited yearning to aspire to his level of artistry.However, in much of this album, as in "Spirit Keeper", the blending of horn with his lush sounds irritates rather than soothes me. Contrast this album's melodic message to Serrie's incredibly exquisite "Blue Lumia" on "Ixlandia", (which never fails to astonish me with its heartbreakingly beautiful melody), and one is reminded of the essence of Jonn Serrie and what is missing from this album "Hidden World". To me, Songs 4, 5 & 7 are especially miserable to listen to especially at night while trying to meditate and/or relax. They jab at one like a rude pebble under the meditation mat. It is not what I want to hear in Jonn's space albums. Heretofore, Serrie's gentle washes of sound seem to have been designed to lull the senses and melt the stress of the day, as one is lifted out of body, and out of this world, to that space where freedom and imagination may soar and release from the confines of one's self. Thankfully, this sense of spatial freedom returns in Songs 9 & 10 which provides a mental release from the flute dominance and allows the sense of Jonn's gentleness and his musical fluidity to return in this album's closure. To me, Gary Stroutsos' vision is too "grounding" or "earth-bound" to mix with space music. His artistry is exotic and fine for when one is in the mood to hear that style of music. However, when my intent is to escape that very notion of being attached to anything at all, including my body, the two levels of expression seem to "war" within me and I cannot find that aural release that I seek when I listen to Jonn's music.Jonn has that rare, intuitive ability to accent with both exotic and other percussive instruments in an incomparably lovely, delicately tasteful, and tantalizing way throughout his album/s. This is especially true on Song 9. Percussive accenting is extremely difficult to do well, and one is left with a sense of wonder and a deep longing to reach his level of expertise that is so masterfully exhibited throughout his recording career. For me, this is an album clearly best for daytime listening when one is otherwise occupied as now while writing this review and listening to the album. This is not to discount Gary Stroutsos or his musical artistry in any way. He is a gifted and insightful musician, but for me this collaboration is jarring. With profound respect to all, Jonn sounds too much like Steve Roach (whom I also adore) this time around."
Mark | Phoenix, Arizona | 08/31/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I am a die hard Serrie fan, but I am over his experimentation with the Native American theme. "Spirit Keepers" was enough for me, and although it was good (with time, since I don't listen to a great deal of Native American music), he didn't need to create a sister c.d., which is even weaker than "Spirit Keepers". All is not lost on this release, though. With Serrie, there will always be nice moments, such is on the first two and final two tracks. In between, it's mostly annoying, with Gary Stroutsos' flute playing coupled with Jonn Serrie's minimal soundscape backdrop. This c.d. could easily get lost without much notice in the world of Native American music, except that Jonn Serrie has gained a very good reputation for premium space music. For this reason, it will be exposed to a wider audience, some of whom will likely be less than impressed. Hopefully, Jonn Serrie has exited this trendy genre of music and has started projects in other directions."
The perfect fusion of disparate elements
Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire | Minneapolis, MN United States | 06/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow! Bringing together the ethnic flutes of Gary Stroutsos and the space music synths of Jonn Serrie could have been less than spectacular (as one of Serrie's previous CDs, Spirit Keepers, was). But instead, this album is a solid winner. Sounding at times like the ethno-tribal group Tuu, Jonn and Gary have collaborated on a true fusion CD. The very judicious use of hand percussion (waterphone, clay pots, and other instruments) enhances the fact that there is a primal/tribal element here that has never been associated with Serrie's space music. And, thanks to Jonn's patient and ethereal synth washes, Gary's flutes (whether Native American, Middle Eastern or other types) have an added depth and ambiance.The songs themselves are low key and serene but also laced with mystery and even some darkness (very atypical for both artists but I liked it). There is primal energy here, flowing in the virtual grooves. The faux-cave paintings on the CD cover accurately convey the mood. This is music that stretches across inner space into almost mystical territory.The combination of airy flute with floating synths and grounded by the earthy percussion yields a CD of subtle power. This one should land on a lot of "best of the year" lists come early 2001!"