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Levi Chen — Meditation of My Soul
(Yin Yang 13260 6, 1995, CD)
by Mike Ezzo, Published 1997-05-01
Peace and tranquillity are yours for the asking when you spin this CD, the third by Levi Chen, an accomplished performer on electric guitar and guzheng (here called "Chinese harp"). Skirting rather deftly between the Eastern and Western, but never plunging headlong into either of the two, Chen's beautifully rich guitar tone breathes and pulsates in an organic womb of sound, eschewing the staid clinical approach of sundry high-tech efforts in related new age genres. His musical meditations are neither minimal (the Chas Smith method), nor pulse- driven a la Michael Brook. Neither are they song-structured, as with Michael Hedges, but they take on a life of their own. (No criticism of those three artists intended, mind you.) Meditation of My Soul successfully bridges any gap traversing the new age, ethnic, and space music genres. I marvel at how Chen phrases his melody lines such that the harp picks up on the last note of the guitar phrase, and sustains its movement, while the guitar continues to drone on in chasms below ground level. The tone colors of the two instruments blend together so homogeneously that the result assumes the characteristic of a single instrumental voice. This creates the illusion of a sort of infinite cycle. Furthermore, his careful avoidance of memorable themes or repeated melodies imbues the work with an intangible sensation that makes the possibility of a meditative experience propitious indeed. The title says it all, in essence — music clearly created for the moments of reflection and meditation. Don't put this one on at your next party.
Related artist(s): Levi Chen / Liquid Gardens
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