Steve Roach / Michael Stearns / Ron Sunsinger — Kiva
(Fathom HS11056-2, 1995, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 1996-08-01
Stearns and Roach have collaborated before on 1989's Desert Solitaire as have Stearns and Sunsinger more recently on Singing Stones. For all three this is the first project together and is a resonant concept album of distinct originality. The majority of the album is split into four "Kivas," each a compass direction (South, West etc.,) that are connected by shorter "passages." Each composer wrote one of the Kivas and collaborated on the fourth one (and presumably the "passages"). Stearns "leads" the peyote ceremony, Sunsinger the ayahuasca ceremony and Roach the Sundance, all sacred ceremonies involved in shamanic consciousness. Thus recordings of these indigenous ceremonies are combined with each composer's synth banks to create music that hums with spiritual intensity. The chanting and bells on Roach's piece are particularly vibrant with energy and lend a feeling of awe to the proceedings. While the indigenous recordings make this too varied to be continuously relaxing and ambient like the majority of Stearns and Roach's work, they also give the music a brilliant new bent to the genre. This is quite an album and recommended to open listeners.
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