Energy flow, like water, can become stagnant. Listening to relaxing music can have a profound effect on one's vital energy, releasing blockages and bringing about balance and well-being. Whether to accompany movement or for pure listening pleasure, The Light Dance is ideal for building chi, releasing concerns and moving into a state of sublime peace.
The Light Dance
|1. Awakening Chi 5:56|
|2. Celebrating Silence 4:41|
|3. Water Course Way 2:21|
|4. Dancing with the Water 5:20|
|5. A Breath of Joy 1:52|
|6. Turning, Turning 5:38|
|7. Finding the Quiet 2:26|
|8. The Light Dance 6:43|
|9. Gentle Breeze 2:27|
|10. Riding the Dragon 5:23|
|11. Carried by the Wind 6:36|
|12. River of Air 2:28|
|13. Forever Chi 5:29|
|14. Peace 2:16|
The Light Dance moves from quiet to majestic and back again with ease. It is reminiscent of a movie soundtrack with an Eastern Asian feel. At times you feel as though you were observing a parade in front of an ancient Emperor’s palace, and then flawlessly it transitions to the quieter feel of a Zen garden.
Composer and musician Buedi Siebert is a classically trained flautist. Called by some a “musician without borders,” he collects and plays instruments from all over the world. On this album he uses bamboo flutes, guzheng, which is a large Chinese zither, and keyboards. Other musicians add percussion, guitars, piano and erhu, a two-stringed Chinese violin.
A recurring musical theme from the first track gives the CD a lovely feeling of familiarity by the end. The idea of moving chi fits in naturally with the harp-like instrumentation. Nothing feels more like movement than a nice glissando. This music works very well for massage, although it was created to enhance the practice of moving meditations.
It is the middle of summer and it is hot and humid and the thought of a refreshing dip in the pool sounds so appealing. As I float face down in the pool it is a wonderful feeling of freedom and weightlessness. Then the sun's rays bounce and dance off the disturbance of the water surface and reflect off the pool floor making you feel alive and still relaxed at the very same time. What an oxymoron. Yet these emotions of relaxation and stimulation parallels the philosophical and exuberant state that The Light Dance creates.
I cannot deny that I was initially pessimistic and impervious to what I was about to hear. The combination of the unusual artwork along with the references of the Idogo pole meditations initially brought me to the listening experience with a somewhat closed mind. Despite the heavy leanings on the meditative aspects this Eastern influenced music has a commercial awareness that is even delightful to these sometimes closed Western-influenced ears.
Buedi Siebert originates from Germany and has been active since the 1970s as composer, producer and a multi- instrumentalist. His website credits him with the ability to play up to 40 different instruments. Siebert is prominently known as a flute player with a unique soothing and smooth delivery. That reputation is not tarnished here though he concentrates on the use of bamboo flutes delivering a gentle style but never at the expense of being boring. Even more so is the presence of the large Chinese zither that creates a plucked string sound that is distinct, though never harsh, escalating the exotic deliverance. Former Narada recording artist Ralf Illenberger on guitar and Matthias Frey on piano ably assist him. The latter is heard most prominently on the title track "The Light Dance" which is probably the most commercially viable song on the album. When compared to the other pieces, it is almost out of place, but it still fits well enough not to be a distraction.
Speaking of pieces, this project is a jigsaw that relies on each segment to landscape a place of escape. Each sliver glides into one another without a break, keeping the listener centered and focused. Many of the musical themes are revisited to assist in keeping that focal point. (Those of you that prefer the meditative attributions here may find Real Music's latest project Namaste more inviting).
From a commercial point of view, this same compliment could also transform into a complaint as the reoccurring themes are played out despite the different titles. This is beneficial from a meditative point of view thus sustaining a center point. However, from the aspect of a pure listening experience, the cynical response of redundancy could be applicable. Fortunately, the musical themes are very involving and along with some rearrangements make the revisits more than pleasant deja vu.
The beauty of this endeavor is the chameleon ability to integrate both commercial and meditative influences without diluting the effect of either aspect. The end result is flowing ear candy with some meditative nutritional value added to the mix without it being forceful or overwrought.
The Real Music label is known for releasing easygoing and relaxing music that can often be loosely classed as new age. The Light Dance is an archetypal new age album in the sense that it has been created for meditation, specifically, physical meditations using an IDOGO pole, and t'ai chi. Though Buedi Siebert is a classically trained flutist, he's also accomplished, judging by this album, on a Chinese like zither called a Guzheng. As well as him also playing bamboo flute, keyboards, and percussion there are four guest musicians contributing to the music, one of whom plays another Chinese instrument - the Erhu.
After hearing just the first track I was enthralled by The Light Dance because I have a soft spot for music that mixes traditional Chinese sounds with Western instruments; “Fishing Junks at Sunset’ on Jean Michel Jarre’s The Concerts in China and Jon Mark’s Asia Journey come to mind.
The Light Dance is comprised of fourteen relatively short tracks, with the longest being a little under seven minutes. Presumably because the music is designed for flowing physical meditation the tracks merge into each other to avoid a stop-start feeling, though each piece is fairly discrete in style and mood. Having done a little t'ai chi I can imagine how this music would be a good accompaniment, but it works superbly as enjoyable music to play while doing nothing.
What I particularly like about this album is that it isn't Chinese sounding all the way through, some tracks — the title track "The Light Dance” is a good example — are mainly Western sounding and easygoing. Somehow it all fits together giving one a sense of being on a journey, it's not hard to conjure up the idea of slowly drifting down the Yangtze river with this music! The slightly vocal edge to the Erhu (a two stringed instrument akin to a violin) adds to the atmosphere.
I can wholeheartedly recommend The Light Dance to anyone who enjoys melodic and atmospheric music. The blend of guitars, piano, percussion, keyboards and the Chinese instruments is done with artistic grace.