Exposé Online banner

Chöying Drolma & Steve Tibbetts — Chö
(Hannibal HNCD-1404, 1997, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 1999-01-01

Chö Cover art

Fans of Steve Tibbetts, especially those who prefer the world-beat master shredder of Exploded View (1986) or The Fall of Us All (1993), might be a bit put off by this set, a collaboration with Tibetan Buddhist nun Chöying Drolma. The overall sound is more like his ambient release Northern Song (1982), with its languorous flow and expansive sonic landscapes. It's no accident that Drolma is listed first, for it is her voice that dominates the sound, not Tibbetts with his guitars and kalimbas. Electric guitar is only present to provide background textures, not in-your-face soloing. It's not until the third track that we even really hear his acoustic, a simple pattern with his distinctive vibrato tone. If you listen carefully, there's an incredible amount of detail to the production, with dripping water and other natural sounds mixed into the waves of volume-pedal guitar and resonant percussion of long-time Tibbetts cohort Marc Anderson. I was a little uninspired by the quietness of Chö at first, but I find the more I listen to it, the more I hear. There is incredible depth here, but it's so subtle and unobtrusive it's easily missed. This is music for quiet nights and open minds, a soundtrack for an exotic spiritual dream. The singing is probably a little too prominent to call the album truly ambient, and the percussion never gets into a groove like you hear in so much world-beat new-age crossover music these days. But if you're in the mood for something really different, this could fit the bill nicely.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 16, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Tibbetts, Marc Anderson, Chöying Drolma

Latest news

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Andy Summers - The Last Dance of Mr. X – What's this? Former Police-man Andy Summers fronting what is essentially a power trio? And with a backing band consisting of monster bassist Tony Levin and Gregg Bissonette on drums? Perhaps the...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues