Byron Metcalf "Inner Rhythm Meditations" CD
When looking back at the year 2016, this was undoubtedly an enormously triumphant and strikingly fruitful period of time for shamanic par excellence drummer Byron Metcalf. Firstly, just within a few days, two phenomenal albums "Earth Luminous" and "Shamanic Trance Dance" were released, the first one as a collaborative project with Norwegian ambient guitar virtuoso Erik Wøllo on Projekt, while the other one "Shamanic Trance Dance" on Sounds True features several kindred spirits from across the globe as guests. Both these albums certainly belong to the pinnacles of 2016, but the story is still not complete... "Inner Rhythm Meditations" CD, released on Sounds True at October 1st, 2016, in an attractive 6-panel eco wallet with extensive liner notes, resurrects once again the synergistic spirit with Erik Wøllo and the team is completed by a Grammy Award and Native American Music Award nominee, a world flute wizard Peter Phippen from Wisconsin. What a line-up!!! The additional credits go to Sounds True producer, Mitchell Clute, to Liv Khalsa at Invincible Recording for his mastering experiences and to David M. Schrader for cover image.
The opening piece, wonderfully entitled "Garden Of The Peaceful Warrior", which clocks over 10 minutes, unfolds with quietly expansive washes by Erik Wøllo, which are propelled by sublime drumming, both heavier and gauzy, by Byron Metcalf and Peter Phippen's gorgeously evocative flute calls. The trio immediately sets their creative insignias into absolute equilibrium and the listener enters a truly magnificent sonic Eden, where he/she is welcomed by a large dose of aural ambrosia. Pure beauty!!! "As Clouds Dance" is only several seconds shorter than its predecessor, keeps tightly on the path, but this time more translucent udu beats steal the center stage, although always commingling with bulkier frame drums, while hissy desolations are clandestinely glancing on the horizon. Weeping blankets slowly emerge and permeate across along with gently shimmering pulses. Ear-tickling gossamer, yet razor sharp groovy gallops join the spectacle as well and persistently interact with drum/udu magic and utterly engrossing and warmly panoramic elevations. The track title is exquisitely displayed by the passionate musicianship!!! Erik's lushly lyrical strings announce "Patterns Of Awareness", but the percussive vibrancy by Byron soon levels the score along with Peter's poignant bansuri narrations. A quite laid-back, yet intensely magnified and insistently absorbing ride awaits here, bravo, gentlemen!!! "A Perfect Place" delves into quieter terra incognita sceneries, reinforced by cavernously crystalline echoes of udu, pungently galvanizing drums, ethereally embracing E-bow magic, emotive stringed vistas and hauntingly enveloping shakuhachi cushions. A genuine magic by three sonic curanderos in full bloom!!! "The Awakened Heart", covering 11 and a half minutes, shifts the splendor into another, spellbindingly fascinating altitude when masterfully merging engulfing panoptic reflections, healing flute serenities, intangibly pulsing cinematic motifs and vigorously high-spirited drumming. The driving mixture of ponderously punching drums and pellucid udu balm is just breathtakingly immersing and it meticulously completes this splendiferous composition. It's strongly evident, Byron Metcalf, Erik Wøllo and Peter Phippen deliver here the very top of their celebrated artistries, beyond question, "The Awakened Heart" is a Hall Of Fame performance!!! The longest piece, 15-minute "Presence Of Longing", closes this awe-inspiring, 65 minutes long journey with meditatively repetitive deep bass drum beat carefully bridged with cascading epic quietudes, introspectively embracing flute curtains and transient breezy strings. A sonorously contemplative outro!
"Inner Rhythm Meditations" album is another giant sonic installment sculpted by Byron Metcalf and graced by thrillingly gifted contributions by like-minded spirits Erik Wøllo and Peter Phippen. And the sound quality is top-notch too! Thank you, Maestros, for such virtuosic dream team brilliance, congratulations and deep respect for this milestone!!! So it's quite obvious recording like this gets one of my nominations for Best Album of 2016, while "Earth Luminous" and "Shamanic Trance Dance" are already included! And regarding Byron's connection to Sounds True, a 6CD program based on his Shaman's Heart Meditation Series is in the works for a release during the spring of 2018.
Richard Gürtler (May 29, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)
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