Steven Halpern

Perfect Alignment

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When the master of "sound healing" (Steven Halpern) and the era's most innovative woodwind instrumentalist (Paul McCandless) play together, the results are bound to mesmerize. PERFECT ALIGNMENT fulfills the potential of this collaboration, providing many luminous moments of musical synergy. Halpern's keyboard textures create the atmosphere for each song. Deep layers of synthesizer, grand piano, and electric piano are set on top of slinky Ghanan and Persian rhythms. From there, McCandless (best known for his work with Oregon and Bela Fleck) lets his oboe, sax, and English horn glide into the ether. His improvised melodies feel completely at home in their surroundings.

As with all of Halpern's recordings, the songs here not only reward the active listener, but also enhance passive relaxation. At nearly 20 minutes, "Looking Through the Eyes of Love" makes a transcendent accompaniment for meditation or bodywork. "Celtic Comfort" is the most peaceful track here--the music doesn't so much move forward as float benevolently overhead. PERFECT ALIGNMENT is the sound of two accomplished musicians reaching up to the skies and pulling down little handfuls of heaven.

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