Second Sufis - Pearl

Year of Release: 2002
Label: B9 Productions
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 69:33:00

Upon listening to Second Sufis' penultimate album Seven Rays, one couldn't help but notice the shocking impact that technology has had on the way that music is perceived, appreciated, and even created. The mere notion of utilizing sampling as a means of real-time improvisation in itself was already quite intriguing, and this duo certainly was not shy of using its concepts to the fullest of extremes. However, that might have not been the best option. While intriguing and technologically involved, the album ended up too abstract for its own good, despite some interesting moments. Now this time around, the two constituent members of Second Sufis are back with a new album named Pearl, a renewed vision of music that while signifying a change does not disregard the band's previous approach, and a whole new lease on life, abstraction, and focus.

And much of this resurrection of sorts is due to the fact that Pearl sounds infinitely more human and visceral than its predecessor, with an array of world music instruments utilized in order to create divergent atmospheres of patient hypnotic reach and the hint of King Crimson around the second half of Three Of A Perfect Pair resurfacing genially amidst this environment. Instrumental convergence, intuition, and intention are in fact so well brought together that "Guernica," for instance, is an ominous and sometimes hellish exploration of the very emotions carried across by Picasso's renowned masterpiece; a perfect musical interpretation of war brought into pure terror-struck abstraction. There is something universal and profoundly deep in the atmospheres conjured, infinitely patient like much world music is, and slowly exploring through what to many Westerners could appear a minimalist approach.

Yet the real-time sampling, looping, and overall technology manipulation remains present throughout. What James Mott and Mike Gorman have achieved is thus quite admirable, as they have completely dominated their electronic devices and subjugated them into an almost spiritual state, instead of allowing their musical vision to be overwhelmed. The result comes partly from the fact that Second Sufis has relied considerably more on pure percussion sounds this time around, partly from the primeval human essence that now abounds by reflecting the meditative world music qualities of repetition or slow progression, but it is quite a commendable transformation one way or another. Curiously, however, the best piece on the entire record might very well be "Rain," a beautiful shower of dappled acoustic guitar strings that shuns any percussion and seems more like an outcast that sneaked into the final track listing.

The common denizens of Pearl's world, meanwhile, keep hovering on recurring percussive patterns and painstaking development to gradually reach into the listener, and on most occasions with decided success. Sure, "Adrift" and "Prayer Flags" pretty much seem to go nowhere, and the album's magnum opus "Pearl" is something one can listen to only given the appropriate mood, but the rest is unquestionably wonderful. It isn't quite world music, but is inevitably tied to it; it isn't quite ambient, although that general quality does exist. It simply is Second Sufis, bringing its vision back home.

Dusty Road (3:13) / Particle Beam Weapon (6:39) / Guernica (10:13) / Adrift (5:09) / Annihilation III (10:22) / Rain (3:13) / Prayer Flags (4:28) / Pearl (26:09)

James Mott ? Udu, Chapman Stick, digeridoo, Tibetan singing bowl, dragon horn, rag dung, acoustic guitar, Chinese bowl gong, bronze age horn
Mike Gorman ? Electronic drums, tabla, dhumbek, Tibetan singing bowl, Chinese bowl gong, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, 'Oud

Guest musicians:

Jerome Pier ? Synthesizer, Chinese bowl gong
Mark Greeno ? Zen singing bowl, Chinese bowl gong

Slave Labor On Mars (1993)
Soft Clock (1995)
Air Guitar (1995)
Seven Rays (1997)
Pearl (2002)
Infectious Substance (2002)
Sea Of Sky (2006)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: January 27th 2004
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 1545
Language: english


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