Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tayatha - Music for the quietly thoughtful

Yungchen Lhamo
Anton Batagov
Cantaloupe Music

New Age music wasn't always a pejorative term (at least with some people). Originally, it described music that was incorporated non-Western traditions in a form that was calming, restful, and conducive to meditation (but seems these days to simply denote pleasant background Muzak).

Although Tayatha is listed as a classical album, to my ears Russian artist Anton Batagov's piano coupled with Yungchen Lhamo's Tibetian singing style sounds New Age -- in the best sense of the term.

In each of these seven works, one can hear the blending of Russian and Tibetian musical elements, creating something that sounds brand new, yet timeless. Although the music flows, it does so without soft-rock riffs or world beat rhythms. Rather, it moves smoothly past in patterns that seem static, yet constantly change.

What Lhamo and Batagov have created with their collaboration is sound that invites you to slow down, to breathe deeply, and perhaps to sit silently for a moment or two. Tayatha is the type of album that defies genre labeling. Classical? New Age? Let's just say quietly thoughtful.

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