Mystic Canyons

A John Diliberto 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 rises above.

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.




SOULFOOD MUSIC    • PO Box 24186    • Edina, MN    • eMail