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Thunder Chord

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Album Review

The problem with rating this album is that to develop an opinion you have to focus in on the conscious world, and that's not at all what this is about. Thunder Chord, formed of a music that has roots in ancient American Indian ritual but crosses also into other ancient forms and loops back to modern studio technology, is about going beyond what we know of as the real-world conscious state. As with Mickey Hart and his current experiments in tinkering with the psyche through music, the two performers (and composers and archaeologists) who make up Coyote Oldman are looking for the inner rhythms. The result is a search, though, for transition, not for the primal self (there's plenty of music that does that handily). Oddly, though Stephen Hill's liner notes proclaim it to follow in the track of the best space music, it really isn't space music at all — space music is often about visions coupled with a sense of power. The music here is filled more with a sense of communion, with life, with nature, with solitude, with the sky and the ground, with heat and light, dark and cold. It's the music of flutes and pipes, and by the nature of flutes and pipes it's a breathing music, very alive, very dynamic, slow in the musical shifts, yet carrying the listener on a carpet of warm sound. This is not an album to grab you and shake you. It's gorgeous for meditation, for dreaming, or just for playing as a body-settling surround.

Biography

Formed: 1981

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Coyote Oldman mixes technology, music, and culture in a unique, timeless blend. Flutists Michael Graham Allen and Barry Stramp combine their experience with the flute's history in the cultures of the world with a modern outlook and studio approach that gives their albums an innovative depth. The duo — named after the trickster of Native American mythology and Allen's own flute company — met at a 1981 Oklahoma City crafts fair where Allen sold his hand-made flutes. Their shared interest...
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Thunder Chord, Coyote Oldman
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