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Breathing Rhythms

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Album Review

From new age percussion master Glen Velez comes this album designed to allow for a physical and spiritual experience via the forces allowed by the controlled breathing, overtone singing, and rhythms of the music set. The vocals are supposed to activate the upper body, the melody activates the central region, and the drumming and breathing are to activate the lower body. To further this, the pieces are created in a rhythmic pyramid form, to reflect the "elemental structure" of the music. Despite the seemingly overwhelming amount of new age rhetoric involved in the formation of the music, Glen Velez is rightly regarded as a master percussionist, primarily on the various frame drums. Here, he performs the proper rhythms exquisitely, with accompaniment on the panpipes, and surprisingly enough the cello from time to time. A nice inclusion to the album is the use of khoomei singing of a basic sort, with the overtones accompanying the music relatively well. It's a decent mix of sounds, but the conceptual framework for the album nearly washes out any musical goodness on its own. On purely musical terms, the album isn't bad, though there are a multitude of similarly pitched ones competing with it.


Genre: World

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

Glen Velez, a Texan of Mexican origin, is one of the most outstanding living percussionists. His instrument is the frame drum, the origins of which can be traced back as early as ancient Mesopotamia. Velez not only plays the frame drum, he studied its rich history and manifold uses as a ceremonial instrument in ancient rituals, and thus also became a musicologist in this field. He not only presents his expertise in a wide variety of performances and collaborations with other artists -- he also developed...
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Breathing Rhythms, Glen Velez
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