Laraaji

Ambient 3: Day of Radiance

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Edward Larry Gordon was a comedian/musician attempting to work his way through the Greenwich Village clubs in the '70s when one day he impulsively traded in his guitar for a zither, adopted the name Laraaji, and began busking on the sidewalks. Brian Eno, living in New York at the time, heard his music and offered to record him, resulting in this singular, unusual album. Laraaji uses an open-tuned instrument with some degree of electrification (and, presumably, with studio enhancements courtesy of Eno), which creates a brilliant, full sound. The first three pieces, "The Dance, Nos. 1-3," are rhythmically charged and propulsive, with tinges of Irish hammered dulcimer music mixed with a dash of Arabic influence. The layered production gives them a hypnotically captivating quality and an echoing vastness, inducing a dreamlike state in which the listener happily bathes. The two parts of "Meditation" are arrhythmic, ethereal wanderings, still effective if less immediately riveting. Day of Radiance is considered an early new age masterpiece and, while it shares certain aspects with the genre (including a heady mystical aura), it has far more rigor, inventiveness, and sheer joy of playing than the great majority of its supposed descendents. It possesses a sense of timelessness that has enabled it to quite ably hold up over the years.

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