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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With Deuter, Popol Vuh, Peter Michael Hamel's Between belongs to these German progressive bands which have experimented world music before time. With this album, Between found their own expression, delivering an original approach to West meets East combination. This album is very structured, not very dark, avant garde and unclear as the majority of krautrock bands. The music is luminous, particularly enchanting with beautiful acoustic passages. Contrary to their first, this isn't really rock and more accessible. The opening track has a Terry Riley's felt with repetitive organ parts. The tune is lead by an omnipresent oboe solo and acoustic percussions. "Om namo" is an eastern raga influenced track with sitar in the background and peaceful flute lines. Religious vocals are added to the mix. This is closed to sacred music. "sunset" is my favorite on this album, a classical guitar piece with a delicate meditative atmosphere. "listen to the light" develops a similar ambience than the first with organ patterns in the distance and massive, always peaceful oboe sequences. Rather soft, dull and not very inspired. "Dharana" is a dancing, spiritual song with an oboe/ Percussions combination. Not bad, in the vein of Terry Riley's rainbow in curved air but less intriguing and hypnotic. The last track concludes the album with spiritual human voices accompanied by organ loops. Finally a pleasant album but the result is not as transcendent as it seems to be. Beginners should start with Einstieg .
Report this review (#48677)
Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This original german band is a world music's precursor. A blend of Peter Michael Hamel repetitive keyboards melodies, of Robert Eliscu's oboe, Roberto Detree's classical acoustic guitar and the multi-percussive colorations of Cotch Black.

On their third album, the band turns to a more tranquil, luminous style, quite different from the solemn, obscure, esoteric and incantatory music of the previous "And the waters opened" album.

"Dharana" develops here an aerial and mellow world jazz fusion, softer and less inspired than their previous album.

The longest piece "Dharana" is the most accomplished, with its slow progression. The spiritual inspiration is strong throughout the album, "Dharana" is the sixth of the eight steps of Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga and is linked to a stage of self-trance due to inner silence.

Even if "Dharana" can't reach the previous album's intensity, the cleaner sound production contributes to a pleasant aerial feeling and with this album, Between keeps on creating a unique musical universe, a perfect fusion of western and eastern music. And "Dharana" remains more inspired than Peter Michael Hamel's future works.

Report this review (#75565)
Posted Thursday, April 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Of BETWEEN's first three albums this is by far the most accessible. I like it more than their experimental debut "Einstieg", but it's not nearly as good as their masterpiece "And The Waters Opened" in my opinion.

"Dharana" is pleasant and mellow world music with the aboe and percussion leading the way. "Joy...Sadness...Joy" is about the highs and lows of life. Percussion and aboe stand out as the organ pulses throughout. The tempo slows down after 4 minutes and we get some chanting 5 minutes in. The tempo and earlier sounds return 8 minutes in to the end. "Om Namo Buddhaya" has lyrics that are apparently a famous Buddhist mantra about bowing down to Buddha. I think i'll pass on that one. Besides the vocals we get strange sounds and flute. "Sunset" is a Japanese influenced and reflective instrumental of acoustic guitar melodies.

"Listen To The Light" is an aboe and pipe organ instrumental. "Dharana" means deepest inner collection and concentration. It is the almost 22 minute side long track. It opens with a gong before some brief eerie sounds are replaced by the aboe and percussion which lead the way. Some chanting 6 minutes in. The percussion dominates 10 minutes in. More chanting after 12 minutes. My favourite part of the whole record is 14 1/2 minutes in when we get waves of sound that continue right to the end of the song. Some chanting comes and goes, and water-like sounds join in too. "The Voice Of Silence" is a bonus track over 17 minutes long. It consists mainly of pipe organ pulses and vocal melodies.

So Peter Hamel has taken the band even further down the new age road of enlightenment with this one. Good record, but not great.

Report this review (#170184)
Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | Review Permalink

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