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Sunborne

Constance Demby

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Album Review

Constance Demby, the "queen of symphonic spacemusic," recorded this full-bodied musical tonepoem in 1980; I use the term "full-bodied" because Sunborne features Demby's extraordinary musical inventions, the Space Bass and the Whale Sail, two enormous bowed sheetmetal sculptures. Demby makes them roar like thunder and sing like whales, and I doubt any synthesizer—even these days—could emulate their presence. Sunborne is a five-movement symphonic space-poem with lyrics from the "Emerald Tablets," an ancient text by Hermes Trismegistus. The recording—using keyboard synthesizer, zither, gamelon, the sparkling hammered dulcimer, cheng, tabla, percussion, and vocals—evokes ancient primordial stirrings and heady futuristic space voyages, watery depths and exploding rays of light. The title cut swirls and blips with inner electronic space galaxies powered by a driving percussion and Demby's centered, hypnotic voice. "One with the Light" begins with the breathtaking and resonant Chinese cheng which is then joined by the plaintive cries of the Whale Sail. Its voyage through the empty, echoing void is heartbreaking until Demby's eternal voice encourages its return to the light. Sunborne is both a feast for the ears and an incredible vibrational voyage for the soul. Don headphones, grab a comfy armchair, crank up the speakers, close your eyes, and let yourself fly. Guest artists include Laksmi G. Tewari (tabla), Hugh Robbins and John Sergeant (synthesizer special effects), David Burn (bass and drums), and Warren Davis (percussion).

Biography

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Constance Demby is one of the few representatives of the New Age movement (in both her music and her personal philosophies) who consistently creates artistic, highly expressive compositions. Demby was trained in classical music as a child, and her artistic spirit led her to also master several other art forms; at the University of Michigan, she studied painting, sculpture, and music. It was her work as a sculptor that led her to new dimensions of sound. As she was torching a sheet of metal, it...
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Sunborne, Constance Demby
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