Brother Ong and Larry with the sweetest of offerings. peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)
Folks, this is the kind of music that acts as your unconditional friend, a true ally of the soul. It has a fealty on which one can consistently rely. Only the obstinate would erect obstacles to the sagacity of the hymns contained on Mysteries of the Shahi Baaja: Volumes 1 and 2, on Sounds Eternal by Brother Ong, a recent moniker of fellow Pittsburgh denizen, Mike Tamburo. A multi-instrumentalist, Mike was given a shahi baaja - an electrified and modified version of the bulbul tarang - for his 34th birthday by his wife, and it allowed a return to a space of experimentation and creativity; on this 2 volume collection of ethereal, ascendant and introspective tracks, the sounds of renewal float gracefully through the head-space.
The morning sky was blue and the air unadulterated, as 'Sweet Nectar of the Sun Lion' serenaded the day with tones of renewal. In 'Tratacum', solitary strings resonate softly, a beautiful sound that reminds me of Scott Tuma's Digitalis releases. Tabla appears on the next track, 'A Peace Lagoon', which add a nice contrast to Mike's idyllic melodies. The final track of volume 1, 'Elementals', is a personal favorite. It is a track with many sections, and at its heart, represents life-affirming music with the quality of benevolence. Volume 2 contains the uplifting aura of the first, yet also has an introspective quality to it, which is experienced on the opening and closing tracks. In 'Kiss of the Perfumed Dragon', sparse tones advance cautiously through the catacombs, not knowing that which may manifest. 'Splendor of the Sun' exudes sonic warmth. Some of the most powerful moments are found in the final track, 'When my Caterpillar Flies'. It commences with introspective tones that exist lightly, until they fuse with a glorious drone, an unforeseen burst of energy. There are several transitions, and it ends with surge of distorted strings.
The sounds here are appropriate for casual or more focused listening. However, the latter is preferred, as one of the best aspects of Brother Ong is his proclivity to create vivid soundscapes. One can purchase a copy, along with the excellent Deep Water Creation, at Mike Tamburo's Bandcamp page.
peace and love, friends :)