A John Diliberto Echoes.org CD of the Month –
Echoes Review by John Diliberto
Soulfood flies under the conventional music radar. After
releasing their first album, Breathe, into the ambient ethno-techno
market in 1998, they've effectively gone underground into
the gift market. It's a nether-region of music, supplying
everything from yoga studios to national park gift shops.
Sometimes this music is functional and market driven, like
Yoga Dream, but sometimes it transcends its utilitarian
goals. DJ Free a.k.a Gordy Schaeffer is Soulfood, and with
various collaborators, he's released over 20 CDs in the
last seven years. Some transcend, some don't. Mystic Canyons
For Mystic Canyons, Soulfood returns to the sound of his
first album, Breathe, creating a Native American ambient
music, albeit one less electronica-driven. DJ Free plays
Native flute, guitar and synthesizers, but is helped out
by Anakwad (Frank Montano) of the Ojibwe tribe on flutes
and chants and Rita Coolidge on chants. Soulfood uses the
chants judiciously, to set the mood on atmospheric pieces
like "Distant Spirits." Soulfood's take on ambient
Native music is lush, full of plush synthesizer pads and
lots of reverb, but he also has a grounded sense of melody,
with flute playing that bends and arches like the arc of
a hawk traversing the Sonoran Plateau.
As befitting Soulfood's DJ roots, Mystic Canyons is a seamless
flow, moving from the quietly triumphal guitar strumming
of "Canyon Echoes" to the deep meditation of "Thunder
Song" which recalls the flute choirs of Coyote Oldman.
There's even a piano reverie on "Mystic Canyons Part
2." Mystic Canyons may show up in Grand Canyon gift
shops, but it's a souvenir of the spirit.
Midwest Record Recap Review by Chris Spector
SOULFOOD/Mystic Canyons: The Soulfood gang has come back
together for a take on the Southwest that can be used for
just about anything you would use something to listen to.
Even though this is supposed to be a ‘go within' set,
their trademark driving music is at the fore and somehow
they manage to make it appropriate for yoga this time out
as well. Another ear opening experience with no dist on
it that you don't have to be a granola muncher to love.