Monday, February 16, 2009
Rain of Blessings: Vajra Chants - Lama Gyurme
Tibetan lama Gyurme reunites with French composer Jean-Philippe Rykiel for an album of Vajra chant and New Age synth ambience. The result is an at-times lovely, at-times cheesy collection that decorates the monk's already perfect chant with ornaments of tingling bell synth and washes of sound. The appealing quality is Lama Gyurme's simple voice that, in raw, unadorned tones, creates a spiritual purity, which is often, but not always, reflected in the musical accompaniment of Rykiel. Such pieces as "The Six Syllable Mantra of the White Lotus Lord" and "Sacred Words of Liberation" work well in their seamless fusing of the Lama's long notes with the constant humming of the cosmos through metallic ambient synth, occasionally recalling the "Om" of Buddhist chant. Where the album lacks is in its Westernization of this traditional spiritual ritual, as on "Offering Chant" and its accompanying unplugged version, the latter of which has a sympathetic piano reminiscent of sentimental American pop. Still, it's a useful collection for those interested in the vocal praying of the Buddhist tradition.