Moon of First Snow

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Although Golaná is a more mystical name and thus more in line with the cool spiritual vibe of this Native American flute odyssey, the artist spills the beans in the liner notes by informing listeners that his real name is the much less exotic Scott Cunningham. No matter his heritage, he captures a graceful vibe by blending a handful of flutes (Native American E-minor and C-minor, bamboo bass flute) and hand-drum rhythms with guitars and keyboards. Some fans of this type of music (whose recordings always include moonlit imagery for some reason) prefer a more sparse, unplugged approach, just flute and percussion. But the outside rhythms and harmonies keep each track from sounding too similar to the last. The idea is to blend melancholy feelings with more hopeful, anticipatory thoughts, but always in the mode of deep, expansive contemplation. Melissa Hasin's cello adds a mournful effect to "Time of Long Nights" and a classical, chamber music flavor to "Water from Heaven." Golaná's liner note reflections help paint the imagery behind the haunting soundtrack. All of this is best enjoyed, of course, by fans of guys like Gary Stroutsos or R. Carlos Nakai.

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