Whale songs are as ubiquitous in new age music as soaring flute solos and flamenco guitar. But Lisa Walker has used whales songs to make something really stunning on her album Grooved Whale. A classically trained violinist, Walker studied the language of whales for several years in their natural habitats off the coasts of Alaska and Hawaii. Her musical background enabled her to both discern and appreciate the subtle qualities of the whale's calls and over time, and she developed a deep love and respect for the whales and the diverse array of sounds that they produced. Walker also became fascinated with the acoustic qualities of the water itself. Grooved Whale is an experimental album that builds upon these loves and fascinations. Walker combines the sounds of the whales, both in their original recorded forms and electronically altered to change pitch, texture, and duration, with recordings of her violin, played in an underwater chamber and recorded through the water using special speakers. The result, when combined sparingly with other sounds from the seashore environment (water dripping, sloshing, and slapping against boat hulls, dogs barking, etc.) is haunting, spiritual, hypnotic, and thoroughly engaging. Both the whales and Walker's violin produce wavering tones that at times seem interchangeable; the liner notes also indicate that while the recordings were being made in Hawaii the whales would occasionally sing back to Walker's violin. Few recordings have so seamlessly integrated whale songs into the musical environment; Grooved Whale accomplishes that while also showing a great respect and love for noble and endangered creatures.
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AllMusic Review by Stacia Proefrock